Half a dozen farm-state senators urged Trump trade officials on Thursday to speedily resolve the Sino-U.S. trade war that is compounding hard times on the farm. Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts brushed aside assurances of a rosy future when trade deals are completed. “Some farmers aren’t going to make it,” he said.
Just months after retaliatory tariffs deposed China as the leading customer for U.S. farm exports, President Trump threatened import duties of up to 25 percent on Mexico, the No. 1 food and ag trade partner of the United States. Farm groups fear the trade war will cut deeper into the shrinking global market for U.S. crops and livestock.
The trade war with China and low commodity prices will combine to slash U.S. farm exports by 4.5 percent this fiscal year, said the USDA on Thursday in a quarterly forecast. Exports of $137 billion would be the smallest since 2016, when exports bottomed out following the collapse of the commodity boom.
In a new lawsuit, environmental advocates say a Colorado beef-packing plant owned by JBS has been dumping polluted wastewater into a river for years. The suit comes as the Brazilian company is under fire for taking millions in President Trump's tariff bailout payments. (No paywall)
When Congress passed the 2018 farm policy law, analysts estimated farm subsidies would cost an average $6.1 billion a year. The Trump tariff payments, ordered by the White House to mitigate the impact of trade war, could triple the total for expenditures to farmers this year.
President Trump announced a $16-billion aid package on Thursday to buffer the impact of the trade war on farmers and ranchers this year. Speaking separately to reporters, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said billions of dollars of additional aid may flow in the future.
The multibillion-dollar Trump tariff payments to farmers, born of the China-U.S. trade war, are expanding the government role in agriculture despite decades of free-market reforms that told farmers to pursue profits rather than subsidies. “I don’t like to see that precedent but …
Due to the trade war, more than a third of net farm income for Kansas farmers comes from Trump tariff payments, but that won't make up for lost export sales, said Republican Sen. Jerry Moran on Monday. The second-term Republican was part of a Farm Belt chorus that, after applauding the end of a trade dispute with Canada and Mexico, called for trade deals with China, Japan and the European Union.
The three largest countries in North America announced an end to the 11-month battle of tariff and retaliatory tariff that pinched U.S. farm exports to Canada and Mexico, the two largest customers in the world in the for the goods. The agreement, which took effect over the weekend, improved the prospects for ratification of the new NAFTA and altered the dynamics of the Sino-U.S. trade war.
The highly contagious African swine fever, rampant in China, has never been found in the United States, but the USDA said on Thursday that it will step up its surveillance efforts against the viral disease, which kills pigs but does not harm people.