Farmer across the United States, especially those in America’s midsection, or “Breadbasket,” voted in large numbers for Donald Trump. But now many are extremely worried that Trump’s unfavorable view of major trade pacts such as NAFTA and the TTP will cost them dearly.
Prices for farm commodities are struggling as massive surpluses of corn, soybeans, wheat, sunflowers and more are busting grain bins across the U.S. It’s the old law of supply and demand. When there is a big surplus, prices stay low. When commodities are scarce, prices shoot higher.
But one of the best ways for farmers to unload their products is to sell them overseas. One of the biggest trading partners for U.S. agriculture goods is Mexico. If the Trump Administrations decided to get rid of NAFTA – as it has threatened to do – the impact could be devastating to U.S. farmers.
The same goes for the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was to be a major trade deal with the countries of the far east as well as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Farmers in the United States were already counting their profits as massive deals for U.S. grain and meat were likely to result – but now the TPP is dead in the water. The Trump Administration withdrew from the agreement before it could be finalized.
An official with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association summed up the situation succinctly in one quote: “Americans are not going to eat more beef at the same price.”
Prices for beef are already riding at their lowest in years while the supply of beef remains more than adequate to meet U.S. demand. If farmers can’t find new hungry markets overseas, the chances that prices will improve are small.
It remains to be seen if President Trump is going to get the blame for slumping farm prices. One thing is certain: Farmers are hurting. Just about all sectors of agriculture are operating “underwater” with costs to produce food outstripping the return on selling food on the world market.
If farm prices don’t improve, many think farmers across the Midwest will abandon Trump and the Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections and may opt for new leadership at the presidential level in 2020.