Minnesota Farmers Union President Blasts Trump
Minnesota Farmers Union President: "At the beginning we spoke out that we supported the president looking at trade agreements. Maybe we can do things better, no disagreement with that at all...We've gone on for over a year. We've lost markets, we lost the China market." pic.twitter.com/kBbgrHQqqS— The Hill (@thehill) August 19, 2019
Iowas Farmers Accuse Trump of Breaking Promises
Iowa farmers are pushing back after President Trump reneged on a promise to review a national program that gives waivers to small refineries that don’t add ethanol to their gasoline.
The president had promised corn farmers he would review the exemption program after a June trip to Iowa, but a recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to issue new waivers to fuel producers signaled an end to the administration’s study.
But the decision creates tension between two groups Trump views as supporters and may threaten the patience of farmers who have already been hit hard by the tariffs of Trump’s trade war.
Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) has requested an EPA Office of Inspector General investigation of the program and whether it violates renewable fuel laws, but at a press conference in Iowa on Wednesday, farmers directed their anger more at Trump than the EPA.
“Right now what we’re seeing from this administration is a dogged approach to allow the biggest fossil fuel players an opportunity to put more money in the back pockets of their large shareholders and take that money out of the pockets of hardworking farmers right here in Iowa,” she said.
Farmers Threaten USDA Staff
The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday it had pulled all staff from an annual crop tour after an employee was threatened, and three sources said the threat of violence was made during a phone call from an angry farmer.
Tour organizers said in a statement the threat was taken “very seriously.”
U.S. farmers have complained this month that a government crop report did not reflect damage from historic flooding this spring. They are also frustrated about unsold crops due to the trade war with China, falling farm income and tighter credit conditions.
Corn future prices posted their biggest drop in three years after the USDA estimated a bigger-than-expected crop on Aug. 12, despite floods that slowed planting. USDA’s reports have long been a key reference for global commodities markets.
James McCune, a farmer from Mineral, Illinois, who was not on the tour, said he understood the anger.
“Any farmer who talked to the USDA guy who made the crop report would probably say something derogatory to him,” McCune said. “I don’t know anybody that agreed with that stuff.”
The Trump administration has also been scrambling to stem rising anger over its decision this month to allow numerous oil refiners to mix less corn-based ethanol into their gasoline.
Finally, please consider the Average U.S. Farm Is $1,300,000 In Debt, And Now The Worst Farming Crisis In Modern History Is Upon Us
We haven’t seen anything like this since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Leading up to this year, farm incomes had been trending lower for most of the past decade, and meanwhile farm debt levels have been absolutely exploding. So U.S. farmers were desperate for a really good year, but instead 2019 has been a total disaster.
As a result, we are facing the worst farming crisis in modern American history, and this comes at a time when U.S. farms are drowning in more debt than ever before. In fact, the latest numbers that we have show that the average U.S. farm is 1.3 million dollars in debt.
If the horrific weather and endless flooding wasn’t enough, about a week ago the Chinese government announced that they would be ending all “purchases of U.S. agricultural products”, and that was a devastating blow for farmers all over the nation.
In particular, soybean farmers are going to see demand for their crops absolutely collapse. In recent years, China has purchased approximately 60 percent of all U.S. soybean exports.
And even if a trade deal is eventually reached, it is unlikely that all of that demand is ever going to come back. Right now, the Chinese are spending enormous amounts of money “to build transportation infrastructure to ship soybeans grown in what used to be rain forests” in Brazil. They aren’t going to abandon all of that just because Trump suddenly changes his mind.
This is not a pretty picture for US farmers.
There is no way for farmers to pay back the money they owe.
Farm bankruptcies are already on the rise. This year may break many of them.