American farmers are carrying the burden of trade tariffs put in place by President Donald Trump and they were in Washington this week to discuss it during a congressional hearing. Farmers shared concerns that included shrinking export markets, rising costs, and bankers who would be more reluctant to loan money for operating costs.
Scott VanderWal, American Farm Bureau Vice President, says he is hearing from farmers that they still trust that the president knows what he’s doing. “We understand that other countries like China have not played fairly and we respect his desire to remedy those situations,” VanderWal says. But, he adds that other countries know what they’re doing when they “hit back” by targeting American agricultural exports. VanderWal points out that soybeans have lost 20 percent of their value since May. He says, “If sales have to be made at these price levels, this will show up as a massive shortfall in our financial statements.”
Farmer income has dropped 52 percent since 2013, making it more difficult for farmers to repay loans. In turn, that increases the level of uncertainty for the bankers who lend to farmers and ranchers.