For farmers and ranchers, there is no good time for a trade war. When one gets started, agriculture is a tempting target. It’s a way for adversaries to strike and bring about immediate pain.
Agriculture came into this trade dispute in a real bind. Net farm income is down more than half in the last six years.
Now, negotiations with China—our top trade customer—have ground to a halt.
The new North American agreement, USMCA, was making progress before the latest round of tariffs aimed at resolving immigration disputes. In good times and especially bad ones, agriculture depends a great deal on trade with Canada and Mexico.
The farm economy is a mess, and trade is the only way out of it.
The Trump administration has provided market assistance for farmers. This is, of course, appreciated, but clearly, it’s not what agriculture needs to regain its footing. For that, trade—as free and as fair as it can possibly be—is the only remedy.