The Agriculture Industry is Feeling the Impact of Recent Tariffs

We wrote last month about how Americans are seeing the impact of tariffs, primarily in the form of increased gas prices. Now, we’re shifting our focus to the agriculture industry, which is facing struggles due to tariffs¬†and extreme weather.

American Farmers are Struggling

According to the Washington Post, many farmers are suffering from “falling farm income and commodity prices, rising debt, historic floods through the Midwest and rain that delayed, and in many cases prevented, spring planting.”

Combine all of that with the 2018 Chinese tariffs on soybeans, wheat, corn, cotton, and pork, and it’s easy to understand why net farm income has fallen by 50% since 2013.

Soybean farmers, specifically are taking a hit, as Davie Stephens, president of the American Soybean Association explains, “Before the trade war, U.S. soybean farmers saw prices well over $10 per bushel, but now that number has been in the $8 range way too often. Dealing with weather, weeds, pests, and normal markets is tough enough for farmers, but being caught in the middle of a trade war for an entire year is a whole different level. Prices are lower, and anxiety is definitely higher for us trying to keep our farms going.”

Relief is on the Horizon… Possibly?

In May, the Trump administration announced a $16 billion trade aid program for American farmers to help lessen the blow felt by Chinese tariffs. Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Perdue, said at the time, “The package we’re announcing today ensures that farmers will not bear the brunt of those practices by China or any other nation.”

However, some believe that while the aid program is a good first step, it’s not quite enough. Dale Moore, executive vice president of the American Farm Bureau Federation says, “While America’s farmers and ranchers are grateful for the administration’s agriculture assistance package, it only begins to relieve the great difficulty the agriculture industry is currently facing, ranging from extreme weather conditions to depressed markets.”

Looking Ahead

In early July, the Trump administration proposed an additional $4 billion in tariffs on goods from the European Union. Time will tell about how that may affect the agriculture industry as well. It’s hard to know for sure when farmers will finally begin feeling relief, but we will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.