Give Now

Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

US Farmers Struck By Trade War Still Waiting For Promised Relief

A report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Rhodium Group last week estimated that if trade tariffs remain in place, they could reduce U.S. gross domestic product by at least $1 trillion over the next decade.

At the tail end of last August, the US Department of Agriculture pledged to purchase $1.2 billion worth of food from pork, beef and produce farmers to offset the effects of trade sanctions from the White House.

That didn’t happen.

According to a report from the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, the USDA only purchased 11 percent of the amount of food the agency promised.

Between the end of October and early February, the agency bought about $137.5 million in domestic meat, rice, fruit, vegetables and nuts. Pork products accounted for more than 38.5 million pounds of those purchases. Most of the purchased food ends up going to food banks, school lunch programs, programs for the elderly or food assistance to Indian reservations.

The purchases were part of a relief package to offset the millions of dollars in lost markets due to the tariffs.  The U.S. imposed 25 percent tariffs on imported raw materials like steel and aluminum , and China retaliated with tariffs on American agricultural exports, especially soybeans.

A new trade deal between the U.S. and China is on the table, but a resolution isn’t expected until at least April.

Other effects of the trade war include rising equipment costs due to steel and aluminium prices. Companies like John Deere have taken a hit on stock prices as banks ascribe more financial risk to agriculture investments.

Effects of the trade war have struck at a time when farm income is already flagging. Many farmers can only keep their operations running with income from other jobs.

The USDA said in February that U.S. soybean exports are down $2 billion due to the trade war.

Read More:

Chad Bouchard

Chad Bouchard is a veteran reporter and WFIU alum who has covered wild and wooly beats from Indonesia to Capitol Hill. His radio work has aired on NPR, PRI and Voice of America, and his writing has appeared in The Sunday Telegraph and Scientific American’s health magazine, Lives. He has also spent a lifetime gardening, foraging and eating weird stuff.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Earth Eats:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Search Earth Eats

Earth Eats on Twitter

Earth Eats on Flickr

Harvest Public Media