Farming is a hard, hard business. The weather is an ever-fickle partner as the two do the dance cycle of planting and harvesting. People’s roots grow into the fertile soil generation after generation. Now, Donald Trump has threatened farmers’ land, their business, and their identity.
The president has become another variable, maybe more fickle than the weather. His trade war with China has cost his core voters dearly. Farmers have lost their major export crop of soybeans to the Eastern country, because China just went elsewhere to purchase them. That market and others may never return. If they do, the rebuilding will take years.
One angry farmer was so threatening that the Nebraska Agriculture Department staff members abandoned the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. His crops were depressed and his farm income has been dropping seriously. Farmers live on a knife’s edge of security.
The New York Times wrote:
‘More than a year into the trade dispute, sales of American soybeans, pork, wheat and other agricultural products to China have dried up as Beijing retaliates against Mr. Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports. Lucrative contracts that farmers long relied on for a significant source of income have evaporated, with Chinese buyers looking to other nations like Brazil and Canada to get the commodities they need. Farm bankruptcy filings in the year through June were up 13 percent from 2018 and loan delinquency rates are on the rise, according to the American Farm Bureau.’
The Farm Journal’s latest survey found that 79 percent of 1,100 farmers still back Trump, but his support dropped in August to 71 percent.
Farmers have been patient, but they do not have much more time to wait. Agriculture Security Sonny Perdue attended the annual Farmfest gathering in southern Minnesota as guest of honor.
Perdue decided to insult the farmers with a joke in poor taste. Bad idea:
‘What do you call two farmers in a basement? A whine cellar.’
The room echoed with boos. The New York Times aptly called farmers:
‘…collateral damage in a trade war that Mr. Trump began to help manufacturers and other companies that he believes have been hurt by China’s “unfair” trade practices.’
President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association Brian Thalmann told Perdue:
‘We’re not starting to do great again. Things are going downhill and downhill quickly. At some point we have to quit playing games and get back to the table and figure this out. There’s no certainty to any of this.’
Farmer from Tyler, Minnesota Joel Schreurs questioned Perdue and said:
‘We shouldn’t have to whine to get paid. They should be grateful that we’re taking one for the team.’
General manager of Pro Farmer Joel Jaeger said:
‘This is a stressful time in agriculture. There’s certainly a lot of stress in the farm community.’
Wisconsin farmer and treasurer of the American Soybean Association Brad Kremer commented on Perdue:
‘He’s one of us; he’s a farmer. I think he’s got a tough job in a tough administration.’
Craig Lesser was Georgia’s commissioner of economic development under Perdue. He noted:
‘He’s a very strong supporter of free trade’
Georgia environmental activist who worked with Perdue in the State legislature Neill Herring added:
‘He’s the Trump whisperer. He can tell Trump exactly what he wants to hear.’
Perdue was responsible for moving the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s environmental research department out Washington, D.C. and to Kansas City, Missouri. The environment has always been crucial to farmers, and this move cost the country many of its best environmental scientists.
This who Republicans believe inhabits the swamp. The Democrats believed those at the president’s Cabinet meeting table are the swamp dwellers.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney called the move brilliant:
‘It’s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker. I know that because a lot of them work for me and I’ve tried and you can’t do it.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.