Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Leading Iowa soy farmers say trade war makes times 'pretty dire' and only billions in special aid keeps them with Trump

"Things are getting pretty dire" for soybean farmers who planted beans expecting the the trade war with China would be over, Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer, chairman of the American Soybean Association, told Sophie Quinton of Stateline, who writes, "The trade fight couldn’t come at a worse time for American farmers, who have endured over five years of low commodity prices."

Quinton notes, "China’s 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans remains in place, and trade tensions are rising. The Trump administration is planning an additional 10% tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods and Beijing announced this month that Chinese companies would stop buying all U.S. agricultural products." China once bought a third of the U.S. soy crop.

And it's not just China, Quinton points out: "Between April 2018 and mid-June, China, Canada, the European Union, India, Mexico and Turkey have levied tariffs on more than a thousand U.S. agricultural items — from pork and cheese to fruit juice and whiskey — in response to tariffs the United States levied on their goods, according to the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan agency that advises Congress. The tariffs imposed by Canada and Mexico were lifted."

Most farmers appear to be sticking with Trump; their trade-related losses have been eased by billions of dollars "market facilitation payments" that the administration was able to make from the Commodity Credit Corp. without congressional approval. Iowa Soybean Association President Lindsay Greiner told Quinton, “If it wasn’t for market facilitation payments, we would be losing a lot of money, and I think a lot of that support would probably start to go away pretty fast.”

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