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American farmer: 'We would be much better off' without Trump's trade war

Adriana Belmonte
Associate Editor

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that it will be releasing the first tranche of $12 billion in aid to farmers who have been harshly affected by tariffs from the trade war.

The payment program will begin on Sept. 4, with $4.7 billion in payments being provided to corn, cotton, dairy, hog, sorghum, soybean and wheat farmers in addition to federal government purchases of up to $1.2 billion involving “commodities unfairly targeted by unjustified retaliation.” Those in the soybean industry will be receiving the biggest share of the payments.

Blake Hurst, a corn and soybean farmer from Missouri, said on Midday Movers that while many farmers are grateful of the help they are receiving and supportive of what President Trump is trying to accomplish, “obviously we’d be much better off with a resumption of normal trading patterns around the world.”

Soybean farmers will receive the biggest share of agricultural aid. AGRICULTURE/CATERPILLAR REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

The biggest question for Hurst, who also serves as the Missouri Farm Bureau president, is whether or not the trade war will continue. He put a human face on the fact that soybeans have been hit the hardest by the tariffs.

“We’ve seen about a 15–20% drop on the prices we receive in our farm,” he said. The only answer, he stated, is to make progress in negotiations with China, since they are the biggest soybean customers. “Not more government programs, but to make progress,” he said.

“There has to be some sign that we’re making forward progress,” Hurst added. “If we’re just having tariffs for tariffs’ sake, then that’s a dumb economic policy and disastrous for America’s farmers.”

Trade is an existential issue for farmers. Hurst that said news of the trade deal between the US and Mexico was a step in the right direction.

“Let’s finish up with Canada and get on to China,” he said. “That’s the answer.”

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READ MORE: Former U.S. ambassador to Canada: Trump ‘is the arsonist that becomes the firefighter’