How Trump’s Temper Tantrum Is Hurting American Farmers

Farm country voted heavily for Trump, with some struggling farmers saying that the candidate represented more economic opportunities.†Many in the agricultural sector were particularly drawn to his promises of less regulation and claims that he supported small businesses. But now they’re paying a high price for their support, facing down financial ruin as the president’s temper tantrums over policy†turn their lives into political tools.

The first problem? Trump tariffs, which many fear could set off a trade war. Farmers are among those worried, as soy is a major export, and disgruntled nations like China could take retaliatory steps that would hurt those heavily invested in soy — and some already have.

One reason farmers have gone in big on soy, of course, is agriculture policy that incentivizes it with crop subsidies. With dangerously low profit margins, farmers may take advantage of subsidies to avoid, well, losing the farm — but it also means they can end up with a bumper crop and nowhere to sell. And subsidies will cover them in that very situation.

Trump, however, promised to address this issue with a $12 billion aid package specifically targeting farmers and insulating them from the shock of a tariff fight. But he could have accomplished the same thing by not starting a fight in the first place.

Not all farmers were on board with Trump’s proposal, and it turns out they were right to be wary. Distribution of the funds has been plagued with problems and corruption, and that’s not even the worst problem.

You see, while the government is locked in a partial shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is one of the agencies that’s closed for business. That means no disbursement of aid funds farmers are counting on to pay personnel, buy equipment and supplies, service debt and more.

And there’s another problem. You may not think of it this way, but farming is heavily data-driven, whether you’re a multinational agriculture conglomerate or a small family farm. That data, however, is compiled, analyzed, and distributed by the USDA.

Plus, government agencies that perform weather forecasting and work on climate models are also down for the count. Without this information, farmers cannot make evidence-based decisions about what and when to plant. That’s bad for their financial future and our culinary one; crops planted in wrong amounts at the wrong time could disrupt the food system.

Meanwhile, hemp is finally legal but farmers can’t get background checks for anyone who wants to work with them, in an example of the ripple effect that can happen when government agencies have to curtail operations. Farmers who work with craft brewers are also going to feel a pinch as their customers can’t develop new beers for sale until the government employees who approve their labels are back in the office. And those looking to add acreage may be stymied as well, as several processes that go into real estate transfers are set to grind to a halt in the coming weeks.

Apparently, Trump didn’t understand what a government shutdown really meant.†It’s possible that his supporters didn’t know the implications of this decision either, but now, they’re feeling the pain.

Hopefully Trump voters and those who continue to support his policies understand who to blame for their failing businesses, looming eviction notices and other hardships: the man who’s too hung up on his own ego to care about his constituents.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

53 comments

Belinda Lang
Belinda Lang2 months ago

The Republican-controlled 115th Congress negotiated full funding for the wall, but Trump didn't want to normalize the DACA recipients, so he refused to sign the deal. In order to avoid the current shutdown, the Democrats then agreed to fund the wall partially. The measure passed 100-0 in the Senate, but Trump refused to accept the proposal when Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh berated him. Trump said he was going to shut down the government and he would own it. He's an extortionist.

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Sherri S
Sherri S2 months ago

Stop blaming this on Trump! Remember the old saying it takes two to tango ?

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Roxana Saez
Roxana Saez2 months ago

TYFS

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Christine Stewart
Christine S2 months ago

trump lies and yet his followers still love him...

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Lorrie O
Lorrie O2 months ago

De-fence. AWOL. $0.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O2 months ago

Venezuela is oil -rich, shows you that people are fleeing an impoverished hyperinflation oil rich nation.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O2 months ago

I agree America needs better border security, I don't think money should be wasted on a wall that harms wildlife.

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Julie W
Julie W2 months ago

Kay B, it wasn't the Democrats who shut the government down! Put the blame where it belongs.

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Kay B
Kay B2 months ago

The shutdown is not the president's fault. The Democrats refusing to fund border security that we desperately need is causing the shutdown. They know we need border security but they are stubbornly trying to save face by not admitting Trump is right. They are only showing how childish they are. They apparently didn't know or don't care how money strapped families are suffering. They apparently don't know or don't care about the illegal aliens who die in the wastelands at the border or die in the back of locked hot trucks in summer when the driver bails and abandons them. They also must not know or must not care about the amount of drugs found coming across the border or about the child trafficking that goes on. It may not make big news but it makes local news all the time.

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Gino C
Past Member 2 months ago

thanks for this

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