Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Trump's Push to Protect Small-Town Workers Leaves Farmers Behind

Donald Trump’s push against trade deals he says have devastated small-town U.S. workers is bringing disappointment to another key piece of his rural American coalition: Farmers and ranchers who heartily supported the president in hopes of less regulation and lower taxes. Trump’s decision Monday to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have reduced tariffs and strengthened economic ties between the U.S. and 11 other countries, will cost the agriculture industry as much as $4.4 billion a year in potential sales, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the biggest U.S. farmer group. Reopening talks over the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has called a "disaster" and plans to bring up in a meeting later this month with the Mexican president, risks dealing an even bigger blow for agriculture, one of the few sectors of the American economy with a net trade surplus. Exports of corn, cotton, soybeans and other goods in the year that started Oct. 1 are estimated at $134 billion, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in November. The three biggest destinations for U.S. farm products: China, Canada and Mexico. Adding to the malaise, the threat for exports comes at a time when U.S. farm incomes have already fallen for three straight years, the longest slump since 1977...more

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