Monday, July 16, 2018

Trade war splits Missouri county into winners and losers

New Madrid County (Wikipedia map)
The fallout from the U.S. trade war with China is evident in a rural county in the Missouri Bootheel where about 70 percent of the voters in 2016 chose President Trump.

Specifically, farmers in New Madrid County are "delaying equipment purchases, renting their land to hunters and pre-selling crops before harvest - locking in today’s prices for fear they will fall," because of the tariffs on soybeans, P.J. Huffstutter reports for Reuters. Meanwhile, the tariffs on steel and aluminum lured new owners to buy and reopen the Noranda Aluminum smelting plant that has been closed since 2016.

Neil Priggel sees both sides of it, since he was a smelter employee and also runs his family's 4,000-acre farm. He said he was glad the smelter came back, but worries about his farm, Huffstutter reports. Some farmers told Huffstetter they planned to sell their farms and work at the smelter if soybean prices continue to drop.

Reuters chart; click on the image to view a larger version.

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