Iowa Ohio And Georgia Key
Farming states that lean to the right, such as Ohio, Iowa, Kansas, Georgia, Minnesota and Wisconsin, were instrumental in Mr Trump’s 2016 presidential win and would be crucial if he were to be victorious again this year.
They are also some of the states hit hardest by the trade war with China, given their reliance on farm commodities that have attracted some of the highest retaliatory tariffs.
Neil Hamilton, emeritus professor of law and the director of the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, said the handouts to farmers in these states was an example of vote buying.
‘farmers Are Always The Pawns’
Joel Greeno, 52, grew up on a dairy farm in Monroe County in west Wisconsin. It was “pretty much assumed” he would continue the family tradition, he says.
In 1990, he did, buying a 160 acre dairy farm and 48 cows of his own.
But after twenty years of business, staring down economic ruin, he was forced to sell.
“It was just excruciating,” he says.
To Mr Greeno, who now farms vegetables in addition to nightshifts at Wisconsin’s Ocean Spray cranberry factory, Mr Trump’s trade war has added needless stress to an already fragile industry.
For years, Wisconsin has led the US in farm bankruptcies. In 2019, the state lost one in 10 of its dairy farms, marking the biggest decline on record.
Exports of US dairy products to China declined by over 50% in 2019, and the US Dairy Export Council estimated last year that retaliatory tariffs from China could cost US dairy farmers $12.2bn by 2023 if they remain in place.
“Tariffs only hurt us,” he says. “There was no thought process whatsoever.”
He continues: “Our labour is stolen, our lives are stolen, our families are broken and it’s all because we have politicians who are absolutely clueless to the reality of farming.”
“Farmers are always the pawns.”
Siding With Agribusiness Against Independent Farmers
The Trump administration has demonstrated a complete disinterest in assisting small farms, as Secretary Perdue made explicit at an event in October 2019, where he was quoted as saying, In America, the big get bigger and the small go out. I dont think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.23
One of Trumps first actions in office was to withdraw Obama-era rules that protected livestock farmers from exploitation by powerful agriculture monopolies.24 Specifically, the Trump administration revoked rules that would prohibit meatpackers from paying different prices to farmers with similar products and banned them from retaliating against growers who organized collectively for better contract terms. The rules also prohibited bad-faith negotiation practices or the spurious cancelation of contracts with farmers. The set of rules, formulated by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration , also strengthened enforcement by lowering the standard for farmers bringing suit against meatpackers under the Packers and Stockyards Act.25 In place of these rules, the Trump administration finalized far weaker rules that some farmer advocates say cement the ability of packers to engage in unfair practices.26
Illinois Farmers Voice Support For Trump Despite Hardships
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US Farmers Prepare to Vote Amid Record Government Aid
When he set out to plant his crops earlier this year, Illinois farmer Ron Moore was preparing for another year of trade uncertainty with China, one of the largest purchasers of the more than 300 hectares of soybeans he grows on a family farm he has tilled since 1977.
The year 2020 would prove to be unlike any growing season Moore had witnessed. A global pandemic upended the food supply chain, pushing down wholesale prices for livestock and the foodstuffs they consume.
They are not going to eat a lot of corn and theyre not going to eat a lot of soybean meal, Moore explained to VOA during a break in this years harvest. So that decimated demand for the grains that provide the feed for the livestock.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a 35% drop in soybean prices that coincided with a multiyear trade war with China that saw Beijing turn increasingly to Brazil and other U.S. competitors for the staple. The pandemic reduced Chinese purchases even further.
It was a double whammy, so to speak, and we were terribly affected by the pandemic in the livestock and grain industry, Moore said.
For many, the challenges continue. Some 30 kilometers from Moores operation, farmer Wendell Shauman has seen prices for corn, one of his primary crops, fall 44% since 2014. Hopes for a rebound in 2020 have been dashed.
‘It was a big help’
Hoping for a semblance of normalcy
Sabotaging Essential Agriculture Market Data And Research
In 2018, the Trump administration abruptly announced that it planned to move the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the USDAs primary research bodies, away from Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City area.61 Justifying the move as a cost-saving measure and an initiative to move the research body closer to farmers and rural communities, independent analysts estimated that the move would actually cost the federal government up to $128 million over time.62 The government announced and hastily carried out the move, requiring employees to decide whether to accept the transfer before even being informed of the new location. The move resulted in the loss of about half of the ERS experts invited to relocate.63
Also Check: What Kind Of Jobs Has Trump Created
How Four Years Of Trump Reshaped Food And Farming
No matter who wins the White House on Tuesday, policy changes over the last four years will have long-term impacts on the food systemfrom the farm economy to food access.
In the midst of a global pandemic, a rushed Supreme Court confirmation, and a reckoning with racial justice, food and farming have been on the back burner in the 2020 presidential election.
And yet, many of the policies that determine how we produce and access food are inextricably linked to the issues that are in the spotlight. COVID-19 has had devastating impacts on farm and meatpacking workers, for example, and its effects on the economy have increased food insecurity, especially in communities of color, to unprecedented levels.
Although Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue described the Trump administrations efforts as fighting for our farmers, ranchers, and rural America in his recent Fox News op-ed , one thing is clear: President Trumps agenda, focused primarily around deregulation and increasing aid to commodity farmers while cutting food aid to needy families, will have long-lasting implications.
With Election Day upon us, Civil Eats reviewed the most important actions the Trump administration has taken on food and farming over the past four years. No matter who wins the presidency, most of these issues will be on the agenda for the next four years.
The Ag Economy
The Meat Industry
Food and Farm Labor
Well bring the news to you.
USDA photo by Lance Cheung
What Us Farmers Make Of Trump’s Trade Deal
President Trump has touted his new US-China trade agreement as a boon for America’s farmers, who have suffered under a nearly-two-year tariff standoff with Beijing. But what do they think?
A summary of the new agreement says that Beijing will now “strive” to purchase an additional $5bn of US agricultural products over the next two years.
“That will result in greater prosperity for farmers all across the land,” Mr Trump said as he signed the agreement.
But farmers in Wisconsin – the swing state proudly billed as America’s Dairyland – remain uncertain. And as the president seeks re-election, that could matter.
In 2016, Mr Trump clinched the state by a 0.8% margin, becoming the first Republican to do so since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
In Wisconsin, such a razor’s-edge victory is typical.
In three of the five past presidential elections, victory in Wisconsin has been decided by less than one percentage point. In 2000, this margin was made up of 6,000 votes, in 2004 about 13,000.
Farmers make up about 11% of the electorate in Wisconsin, says Charles Franklin, director of the state’s leading poll at Marquette Law School.
“They’re a modest bloc,” Mr Franklin says. But even a modest bloc “could be responsible for tipping a one-point election”.
So how are farmers feeling about the future?
Also Check: Does Trump Donate To Charity
Bankruptcy On The Rise
Despite the sweeping programs, family farms have grown increasingly fearful of financial ruin. Bankruptcy filings for small- and medium-sized farms rose by 20% in 2019, a rate that has slowed but remained elevated. With many restaurants and schools closed because of the pandemic, nearly one third of self-proclaimed small farms said in a May survey that they could go bankrupt by December.
The deepening crisis for small farms has fueled scrutiny of trade aid, which sent millions to agricultural corporations including a Brazilian-owned meat processor in its initial phases. While the USDAraised the limit for individual payments to $250,000 in 2019 from $125,000 a year earlier, corporations have continued to surpass the even larger limit with ease. The top 1% of beneficiaries in the program collected 17% of total trade relief over the two-month span, CNBC found in its analysis, with an average payment of roughly $455,600.
The Assemi Group, known for its real estate and farming empire based in Fresno, California, received at least $1.1 million through nearly two dozen payments to its subsidiaries, according to the USDA records.
“Our company participated in the Market Facilitation Program and complied fully with all federal requirements,” Danielle Filipponi of Maricopa Orchards, an Assemi company, said in a statement. “We are grateful for the assistance, which helps preserve jobs, but what we and all farmers want is fair and open trade.”
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“They are not going to come out and tell you they were intentionally trying to buy votes, even though that may be what it appears to be on the surface,” he said.
“The money is going particularly to a number of farm states and key states that he’s interested in trying to hold on to, like Iowa, Nebraska, and Georgia.
“And within those states the money is fairly skewed, in terms of going to larger commodity farms who usually vote Republican.
“And it’s not really spread around particularly well, either, to smaller farms or even to other types of commodities.”
In a statement to the ABC, the USDA acknowledged that 68 per cent of trade aid funds for 2019 went to the Midwest region, with the top five states being Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Texas and Kansas.
Farms with fewer than 100 acres received an average of US$59.68 per acre in subsidies, while farms with more than 2,500 acres received an average US$48.64 per acre.
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Trump Administration Leaves A Lasting Impact On Agriculture
USFR-Trump Administration Impact on Ag
As President Donald Trump enters his final days in office, the House of Representatives last minute move to impeach him for a second time is stealing headlines. And with the loss of social media access, Trumps response has been muted. While the final weeks of Trumps presidency have been a whirlwind, the impact hes had on agriculture the past four years isnt going unnoticed.
I think in the last four years, ag has gotten a lot of recognition, Kentucky farmer Ryan Bivens told AgriTalks Chip Flory during the farmer forum. Agriculture has been at the forefront. We had trade issues that were going on. And, at the end of the day, I think we’re going to look back and realize how much we truly have gained.
While farmers like Biven say the Trump Administration is leaving its mark on agriculture, Farm Journal Washington correspondent Jim Wiesemeyer says one of the positives from the outgoing Administration was the Presidents focus on farmers.
He communicated to different groups, especially to agriculture. And no president- in my over 40 years of covering the business of agriculture from Washington- have I ever seen a president talk about agriculture and trade policy as much as our president, says Wiesemeyer.
Looking back at the past four years, that attention is mixed.
Theres both good and bad in Trump, and that goes along so many different topics, says Wiesemeyer.
Trump and Trade
USDA’s Focus on Farmers
The Reason Trump May Have Got The Support Of Farmers In The Us
3 min read.Himanshu
He tried to ease their pain through federal grants though his idiosyncratic trade policy hurt them
The US presidential elections are turning out to be a nail-biting thriller. Throwing away all predictions by pollsters, Donald Trump, the incumbent President and Republican nominee, retains his popularity despite four years of disastrous performance on many counts including climate change, trade policy and his recent handling of covid. A look at the results available so far also makes it clear that the Democrats led by Joe Biden are stronger in the highly urbanized districts and states, but have failed to attract the average rural voter who remains loyal to Trump, particularly in the largely rural mid-western states.
At a time when the American farm and rural economy has been going through its worst phase, Trump has managed to retain farmer support through generous federal funding, much of it coming in the last two years, including a sharp jump this year with an eye on the election. While critics may frown on his economic policies, Trump may succeed in having won over Americas farming and rural communities.
Himanshu is associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University and visiting fellow at the Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi
Also Check: What Kind Of Jobs Has Trump Created
Leaving Farmers Of Color In The Lurch
Despite the USDAs long track record of racial discrimination, the Trump administration has all but closed the agencys Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights .44 When Trumps nominee for the top position, Naomi Churchill Earp, was not confirmed by the Senate, he appointed her as the deputy assistant secretarya position that does not need Senate approvalwhile leaving the top position vacant, effectively leaving the office to her leadership.
Earp has a dismal record on civil rights.45 She previously served at the OASCR from 1987 to 1989, during which timeaccording to a House committee investigation and congressional hearingsactual enforcement activity nearly stopped entirely. Moreover, Earp herself has faced allegations of discriminatory conduct and combative management throughout her years in civil service. A National Association for the Advancement of Colored People task force estimated that discrimination complaints against Earp and her direct reports had cost the federal government almost $500,000 in legal costs over the years. During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee, Earp appeared to dismiss allegations of sexual harassment at the U.S. Forest Service as silliness.46