The global trade hole dug by the Trump administration is so deep that it’s hard to fathom the reclaiming of any major markets in the near future.
U.S. farm leaders have been more than mannerly when publicly expressing concern about the impact on their international markets. They politely thank the administration for the millions here and millions there that have been thrown their way.
When will they be publicly honest about their financial stress and directly tell the administration they are just a few seasons — or less — from selling their farms due to lost markets?
The latest round of trade aid with $14.5 billion designated for direct payments to farmers is a big Band-Aid. Some consumers have empathy for farmers caught in the middle, yet others view this funding as another subsidy to bail out mega-producers who are overproducing.
I suppose one way to look at this is that fewer farms equates to less production. Lower production takes care of surpluses and more closely aligns with demand. As supply and demand tighten, prices improve. So, who will remain for this scenario?
And as this $14.5 billion trickles out to farmers over the next year or so, the U.S. national debt continues to climb each day, currently surpassing $22 trillion. About a third of the national debt is held by foreign investors, with China and Japan reportedly holding the majority, around $1.13 trillion and $1.07 trillion, respectively.
The 40-plus years of programming and billions of dollars that farm organizations have invested through check-off dollars to build export markets have been negated. Once again, the U.S. has proved it is not a reliable trading partner. Didn’t we learn any lessons from the Carter grain embargo in the 1980s?
As farmers continue to say, they want trade, not aid.
Sadly, they aren’t shouting — or tweeting — it enough.