Yesterday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board and Kansas City Star wrote about the harmful effects the Trump administration’s trade policies will have on Missouri farmers. “Real people can suffer enormous consequences,” wrote the Post-Dispatch editorial board, “The combination of Trump’s tariff decisions and forced renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement now threatens thousands of livelihoods.”
While Senator McCaskill has consistently warned against the dangers of the tariffs to Missouri farmers and ranchers, Josh Hawley has refused to stand up to President Trump on this issue.
When the Dow Jones stock average drops 500 points at the opening bell, as it did Wednesday, it means someone is getting hurt. The market, confused at what a trade war with China might mean, bounced back later in the day, but the pain lingers for thousands of people associated with Missouri and Illinois agriculture. They can thank President Donald Trump for their troubles.
…China announced retaliatory tariffs against 106 U.S. export items that include pork and soybeans. Rural voters in Missouri and Illinois who supported Trump may now have second thoughts.
Missouri is second only to Iowa in pork exports to China. Nearly 15 percent of Missouri pork exports are sold to China annually, according to Forbes magazine. China’s planned 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork means producers will have to scramble to revise budgets and find alternative buyers.
“Some of our worst fears seem to be coming true,” hog farmer Brian Duncan, vice president of the Illinois Farm Bureau, told the Chicago Tribune. “This is significant, real and serious for rural America.”
China also is targeting soybeans, aircraft and aircraft parts — all of which could have significant impact here…
…Real people can suffer enormous consequences. The combination of Trump’s tariff decisions and forced renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement now threatens thousands of livelihoods. Corn growers are particularly nervous about the impact that the NAFTA talks could have on their exports to Mexico, this region’s largest foreign market.
…Trump’s rural supporters have him to blame for the trade war that now menaces them like a spring tornado…
…The threatened tariffs from China could have a major impact on the economies of Kansas and Missouri, two states that went for Trump by double digits in 2016.
…“We raise about $4 billion in bushels of soybeans in the U.S. and so we just knocked a billion dollars off the value of our crop this morning,” said Blake Hurst, the president of the Missouri Farm Bureau.
Hurst owns a farm in Tarkio, and soybeans make up about half of his crop yield. Missouri ranked sixth among all states in soybean output in 2016, producing more than 270 million bushels, according to the USDA.
“We also got tariffs on cotton and a big tariff on pork, so a lot of Missouri products are getting hammered,” Hurst said.
Todd Hays, who owns a farm in Monroe City, Mo., said that the tariff on pork will hit him the hardest in the short term.
“With soybeans, we can hold it in a bin and wait until prices get better. With pork or beef, you have a live product and you can’t hold it. … Right now we’re selling everything at a loss,” said Hays, who raises pigs on top of growing 2,000 acres of soybeans and corn.
…Jerry Gidel, a Chicago-based analyst, said that soybean futures had dropped as much as 45 cents in the initial reaction to the possible tariffs.
…U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said in a statement that she agrees with her “Republican colleagues who’ve said the Administration needs to scale back this escalating situation before it becomes a trade war that does nothing but slam some of Missouri’s most critical economic engines.”