Thursday, April 5, 2018

Something to Know - 5 April

Take your pick - NY TImes on the East Coast, Washington Post, or the LA Times in the West Coast - not exactly Trump-friendly media.   Trump's latest imbecilic tariff war with China is going to hit the mid-west farmers very hard - those who toil on soy beans and corn.   Topeka, Des Moines, Marshalltown, Omaha, and all the rest have newspapers.   I picked this editorial out of Sioux Falls.   As the battle goes on, and Trump the work of previous economic craftsmen (and women), drop in once in a while and witness the decline of his political support.

South Dakota farmers to take hit in tariff fight, urge Trump to act


Brandon Wipf knew as soon as he saw the lagging grain market Wednesday morning that something was wrong.

The soybean farmer turned to his emails for answers.

That's where he learned that China opted to raise tariffs on soybeans and dozens of other imports in response to the Trump administration's tariffs on cars and televisions.

"It's not just talk anymore, our concerns have been realized today," Wipf said.

The news came amid a tit-for-tat set of tariff announcements this week.

And the potential impact to South Dakota farmers became graver as China announced 25-percent tariffs on the state's two largest crops: soybeans and corn. They announced increased tariffs on pork earlier in the week.

More: Expansions, consolidations fuel remarkable dairy growth along I-29 corridor

South Dakota farmers and state Department of Agriculture officials remained optimistic about the potential for President Donald Trump to negotiate with Chinese heads of state before the tariffs take effect. And they urged prompt action weeks before growing season was set to begin.

Meanwhile, commodity prices took a dip as news of the proposal spread and fears of a broader trade war surfaced.

"It's very very concerning to jeopardize a market of that size and scale," said Glenn Muller, executive director of the South Dakota Pork Producers Council. "Our markets have dropped to the point where they're at a break-even or even below a break-even."

Wipf pointed to South Dakota's lagging farm economy and said farmers couldn't afford a loss from China, a customer that buys one in three rows of the country's soybean crops.

"We need to put this to bed quickly," Wipf said. "Any fence going up between us and them is going to affect the farmer, it's going to affect South Dakota's economy."

That drop in commodities prices was a kneejerk reaction to the tariff news, said Jeremy Freking, agricultural development outreach and operations director at the state Department of Agriculture.

"We know the easy thing to do is to let fear creep into our minds, as the market showed us," he said."The bottom line is because we have some time, hopefully, the two sides can meet and resolve their trade differences."

Craig Andersen, a hog farmer in Centerville, said he was disappointed to see pork and soybeans fall under the trade fights, but was optimistic that cooler heads would prevail.

"Just because they announced it doesn't mean it's in place," Andersen said of the tariffs. "Hopefully they're just using this as a bargaining tactic.

Patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.
- Adlai Stevenson

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