‘Farmers Fear the Worst’ As Trade War Escalation Hits Minnesota Especially Hard

Minnesota Farm and Manufacturing Exports Make Latest Tariff Target List

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                 CONTACT: melanie@farmersforfreetrade.com

QUOTE FROM KRISTIN DUNCANSON, HIGHLAND FAMILY FARMS, MAPLETON, MN: “Minnesota farmers and manufacturers keep getting hit harder and harder as the trade war continues to expand. Prices are dropping while foreign competitors continue to capture more and more of our markets. We are feeling real pain, but Washington has brushed us off as a ‘rounding error.’ We need a change in course on tariffs before they cause any more damage in Minnesota and across rural America.”

WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISOR PETER NAVARRO CALLED THE ECONOMIC COST OF TARIFFS A ‘ROUNDING ERROR.’ “Meanwhile, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told CNBC on Thursday that the damage from the trade war so far is no big deal. ‘We got two economies that add up to around $30 trillion in annual GDP. The amount of trade we’re affecting with the tariffs is a rounding error compared to that,’ he said.” (“The Trade Casualties Mount,” Wall Street Journal, 7/20/18)

TARIFFS THREATEN HALF A BILLION DOLLARS IN MINNESOTA EXPORTS. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that $498 million in Minnesota exports are threatened by trade war. … Minnesota, for example, could lose $498 million in export business in everything from soybeans and whey to motorcycles, yachts and row boats to bread and pastries.” (Matthew Stolle, “How Do Tariffs Affect Local Businesses?” Rochester Post Bulletin, 7/7/18)

TRADE WAR ESCALATION REACHES FAR AND WIDE FOR MINNESOTA FARMERS AND MANUFACTURERS. “Prospective tariff targets ranged from refined sugar made from Minnesota sugar beets to ingots made from Minnesota iron to sausages stuffed with Minnesota pork. Cereal products like those produced by General Mills, boots and “sports footwear” like those from Red Wing are also on the list. Wooden and metal doors and windows like those made by Minnesota-based Andersen Windows are there, too, along with electrical equipment, x-ray equipment, pumps and paper, all of which might be Minnesota-made. That comes on top of China’s plan to tax U.S. soybeans. China is a major market for Minnesota soybean farmers.” (Jim Spencer, “China’s New Tariff Targets Could Resonate In Minnesota,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/3/18)

AGWEEK: ‘MINNESOTA A TRADE WAR BATTLEFIELD.’ “Minnesota is a battlefield in a war pitting the United States against trading partners. … ‘It is certainly much more threatening situation than I have seen in my lifetime,’ professor Robert Kudrle of the University of Minnesota said. Kudrle, with the university since the 1970s, said soybean producers are on the front line, with prices already plummeting as China singled out that crop for its initial countermeasure to Trump’s tariffs. China already is turning to Brazil for soybeans, Kudrle said.” (Don Davis, “Minnesota a Trade War Battlefield,” AgWeek, 7/6/18)

‘RURAL AMERICA IS HURTING FROM THIS.’ “Minnesota businesses are starting to feel the impact of the trade war. And they’re feeling pain from two directions. Exports are declining, and the cost of some key imported materials are rising. …One group feeling the trade disputes is Minnesota dairy operations. ‘Our farm is losing $4,000 a month roughly,’ said Steve Hoffman. … He said many factors affect the price farmers get for their milk. But he sees a clear link between a roughly 10 percent drop in the market and the ramp up in tariffs and counter tariffs that began last spring. … The trade war is also causing concern at the dairy processing company where farmers like Steve Hoffman take their milk. ‘Rural America is hurting from this,’ said Sheryl Meshke. Meshke is co-president of Associated Milk Producers Inc. in New Ulm.” (Mark Steil, “Some Minnesota Businesses Feel Double Impact of Trade War,” Minnesota Public Radio, 7/24/18)

STAR TRIBUNE: ‘FARMERS IN MINNESOTA FEAR THE WORST.’ “Minnesota’s greatest potential casualties in the nascent U.S.-China trade war are the state’s soybean farmers. They now face a 25 percent price hike on soybeans they sell in China. … Minnetonka-based Cargill said it has seen a ‘significant slowdown’ in sales by farmers of soybeans, a reaction to the 18 percent decline in soybean prices since May. ‘The economic turmoil and uncertainties resulting from tariffs are harming U.S. farmers, and trade concerns have played a major role in this price drop,’ Devry Boughner Vorwerk, the company’s head of corporate affairs, said in a statement Friday. (Jim Spencer & Kristen Leigh Painter, “As Soybean Tariffs Go Into Effect and Trade War Looms, Farmers in Minnesota Fear the Worst,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 7/6/18)

‘ANXIOUS’ FARMERS HURT MORE EACH DAY TRADE WAR CONTINUES. “Many anxious farmers in Minnesota and across the country are delaying purchases and investment while hoping for a truce in a U.S.-China trade war that has left their crops at a competitive disadvantage overseas. The longer the Trump administration’s tariffs remain in place, the more China’s retaliatory tariffs against American exports stand to hurt U.S. soybean and pork producers. … ‘A lot of people aren’t very optimistic, unfortunately,” said [Michael] Petefish, president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. ‘They’re not sure of the end game, and that’s what everyone is trying to ascertain: What is the plan?’” (Steve Karnowski & Blake Nicholson, “Trade War Has Minnesota Farmers in ‘Holding Pattern,’” Associated Press, 7/19/18)

MINNESOTA PORK PRICES START TO PLUMMET THANKS TO TARIFFS. “In recent months, the $165 sale price Boerboom was getting for a pig has dropped to the $145 range, thanks in part to new tariffs China and Mexico have placed on pork products, in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on products like steel and aluminum. The falling price of pork is worrisome for pig farmers in Minnesota, one of the biggest swine-producing states in the U.S. And things are not looking up: Futures, prices predictions about where prices will go in the coming months, suggest a drop to around $120 per head by December, Boerboom said. “(Greta Kaul, “Trade War Pulls Pork Prices Down for Minnesota Farmers,” MinnPost, 8/2/18)


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