With commodity prices dropping and farm income projected to plummet, America’s farmers are growing increasingly anxious over the lack of specifics about how much money they’re going to get, and when they’re going to get it, from President Trump’s $12-billion bailout, reports The Wall Street Journal.
One in seven of the farmers who voted for President Trump in 2016 would not vote for him today, according to a poll released on Monday. The escalating trade war was leading cause of erosion of support for Trump among a staunchly Republican group. But a majority still support him: 60 percent would vote for him now vs. 75 percent in 2016.
The U.S. “will be able to start paying down large amounts” of the national debt because of tariffs imposed on imported goods, said President Trump on Sunday. Trump tweeted, “Tariffs are working big time,” two days after China said it might put duties on an additional $60 …
The Trump administration said on Tuesday that it will spend up to $12 billion on a one-time aid package to offset the impact of the tit-for-tat tariff war on the farm sector. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue described the move as a “short-term solution” that would give the president time to rebalance trade rules worldwide. Farm groups said they would prefer to see an end to the trade war.
With a visit to corn-and-pork-producing Iowa on Thursday, President Trump will have a chance to speak directly to farmers, a loyal block of supporters who have grown increasingly worried about the impact of Trump tariffs on their wallets. Farm groups have suggested repeatedly the administration find alternatives to tariffs for settling trade disputes but they have been willing to give the president time to show results.
For Iowa farmer John Heisdorffer, the math is brutal in the U.S.-China tariff war: "You tax soybeans at 25 percent and you have serious damage to U.S. farmers." China, the No. 1 customer for U.S. farm exports, canceled purchases of nearly $140 million worth of U.S. soybeans just before the two countries imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on each other's products. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst said on Sunday the Trump administration was working on "a number of new free-trade agreements," but China "will be a much longer haul."
President Trump has repeatedly attacked the Canadian dairy industry with the aim of "wiping out dairy farmers here at home," said Dairy Farmers of Canada on Monday. Meanwhile, U.S. and Canadian farm groups urged government leaders "to engage in positive discourse that protects the strong trade ties that benefit American and Canadian farmers alike."
A Trump administration plan to reorganize the federal government would include consolidating food stamps, now run by the USDA, and other social safety net programs at the Department of Health and Human Services, said Politico.
President Trump told American farmers on Monday, "By the time I finish trade talks," China, Canada and Mexico, the three largest customers for U.S. farm exports, will remove trade barriers to American products. The president issued the assurances on social media after inconclusive talks with China over the weekend and three days after he said he was open to separate trade deals with Mexico and Canada instead of an updated NAFTA.