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Thune, Rounds, Noem Say Trump Tariffs Cost SD Agriculture “Hundreds of Millions”

Is there anyone left in South Dakota willing to defend the Trump tariffs?

Even our Republican Congressional delegation has taken the position that Trump’s reckless trade war is doing real, significant, long-term damage to South Dakota agriculture. This claim comes in a letter Senator John Thune, Senator M. Michael Rounds, and Representative Kristi Noem sent to Donald Trump yesterday:

Because of our state’s dependency on agriculture exports, our producers can no longer continue to “wait and see” what happens with U.S. trade in the global arena. Trade uncertainty over just the past few months has cost South Dakota farmers and ranchers hundreds of millions of dollars they could not afford to lose.

…Although you have stated that the agriculture sector will be taken care of through some form of USDA assistance, please keep in mind that U.S. export market share is diminishing daily at an alarming rate, and history has proven that once lost, export markets can take years, even decades to recapture. Given the already difficult market conditions for farmers and ranchers over the past several years, long-term damage to agricultural export opportunities is the last thing the industry needs [Sen. John Thune, Sen. Mike Rounds, and Rep. Kristi Noem, letter to Donald Trump, 2018.07.11].

Victims of the Trump Trade War
Victims of the Trump Trade War

Experienced commodities trader John Tsitrian pegs the losses for South Dakota soybeaners at $500 million and underlines the long-term damage our members of Congress finally acknowledge:

Agricultural media have been bursting with news about how China, the world’s largest soybean importer, is making it a national policy to build domestic supplies by subsidizing its farmers heavily and seeking new suppliers, including Russia, to replace an American source that has suddenly turned toxic in a geo-political sense.  Considering that about half of the U.S.A.’s annual soybean harvest of 4 billion bushelsis exported and that two-thirds of those exports go to China, we’re talking about a serious game-changer here.  Even if China’s rapacious demand for soybeans forces the country to take a while before it weans itself away from American supplies altogether, we run the risk of this game of tariff-chicken becoming a catalyst for changes in Chinese buying behavior that in turn creates a new network of suppliers for Americans to compete against. In that scenario, the downward pressure on prices will be persistent and painful [John Tsitrian, “In South Dakota, We’re All Soybean Farmers,” The Constant Commoner, 2018.07.10].

The damage Trump is doing to South Dakota agriculture isn’t fake news. It isn’t bad reading of farm futures data. It isn’t liberal Democratic blogger propaganda. It is economic fact, accepted by experts and an alarmed Republican Congressional delegation.

Update 11:26 CDT: Cobank, a rural cooperative bank and part of the Farm Credit System, says the Trump trade war threatens the global economy and makes it more likely farmers will lose money this year:

…CoBank’s Rural Economic Review says the shift from trade war rhetoric to reality tempers a lot of the optimism in the first quarter of this year. In addition to losing market share in some of the emerging markets, the U.S. may face some historical shakeups in supply chain commitments as customers may look for new trade relationships.

Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division, says trade concerns pose the greatest threat to the projected global economic growth of three to four percent. “The U.S. and China have been driving the economic growth, which benefits emerging markets around the globe,” Ehmke says, “and a trade war between the two is dangerous for economies around the world.” Overall, Ehmke says current market conditions, including rising interest rates, high fuel costs, relatively high land rental rates, and little price relief for other inputs all point to a net farm cash income decline in 2018 [press release via AgNet West, 2018.07.06].


  1. Jason 2018-07-12 09:02

    Years of worldwide bumper crops is the largest reason for the low prices.

  2. jerry 2018-07-12 09:48

    Farmers, fight back. You know NOem, Thune and Rounds do not really mean their complaints, they are feckless. Do like they are doing in Merry ol’ England, send a message with your fields:

    “President Donald trump may not want to look out the window as he passes over the English countryside later this week.

    An artist has turned part of a field at Moat Farm in Stoke Mandeville into a 650-foot crop circle with “F##k Trump” written in Russian, according to local newspaper Bucks Herald.

    The Herald said the crop circle should be visible from the president’s chopper as he flies to a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers, the premier’s country home. (snip)

    “A lot of planning and drawing was involved by the experts who made it,” photographer Henry Matthews, who captured images of it with a drone, told Metro. “All in all it took about two weeks to design, and over 12 hours to make on a sweltering day.”

    So there ya go, keeping it civil in the UK.

  3. Rorschach 2018-07-12 09:55

    At the same time Trump is destroying the market for farm products, he’s also increasing the price farmers pay for pickups and anything else made of steel – like tractors. He’s creating a perfect storm. Farmers want to sell something – it’s a fire sale. Farmers want to buy anything – it’s top dollar.

    Fortunately not everyone is feeling the same pain of tariffs that farmers are feeling. There are no US tariffs on the goods Ivanka is importing from China.

  4. Buckobear 2018-07-12 10:08

    Time for the farmers and ranchers to get over it. Stop whining.
    They (by and large) voted for the abomination currently making them squirm — not to mention installing the three enablers.
    It’s called Karma, and it really is a bitch.

  5. Rorschach 2018-07-12 10:18

    I do like the monkey-face picture of the middle stooge. Who can forget her taxpayer-funded vacation to the Great Wall of China where that photo was taken? Something tells me that one or more of our 3 stooges is going to have to take a new taxpayer-funded trip to China to deal with these trade issues and send a tough, tough message to whatever lackeys the Chinese President delegates to meet with them. (Hint, Hint Sen. Thune. You could get your own Great Wall trip out of this trade mess).

  6. chris 2018-07-12 12:57

    Maybe the American farmer no longer feeds the world. And maybe Donald J. Trump, John Thune, Mike Rounds, and Kristi Noem are all OK with that.

  7. o 2018-07-12 20:40

    Buckobear. and to put the finer point on it, those folks will not hesitate to cast their ballots to re-elect that entire slate again. That’s the part that keeps my head spinning. Here, GOP leadership exists in an absolute bubble of protection from any real consequences from the electorate for how they govern. There may be grousing about disappointment, but that GOP anti-interest vote is locked in now and for the future.

    A voter for Trump is a vote for Trump’s interests ONLY.

  8. Debbo 2018-07-13 00:27

    O, I think their pain will have to be excruciating before trumpelstilskins come to their senses and decide voting GOP is not a good idea.

  9. Ed 2018-07-13 07:41

    I am a farmer, and I did not vote for Trump or any of our three “Don the Con” puppets in Congress. I guess I have to suffer for the ignorance of most of the rest of my farmer neighbors. Sadly, most fellow farmers will continue to support our orange facist dictator and our incompetent Republican Congress even while their farm collapses into bankruptcy. It’s more important for them to keep their guns and continue their racist hate even if it breaks them financially. Go figure.

  10. Ashley 2018-07-13 21:35

    67% of South Dakotan’s voted for Trump. Elections have consequences. Y’all decide someone who was sexist, racist, a liar, abusive, crass, narcissistic, egotistical, a freeloader, broke, a five time draft dodger, and just plain dumb reflected your political, moral, and spiritual beliefs. You made your bed, now lie in it.

  11. Lisa Knigge 2018-07-14 19:09

    Vote them out

  12. Jackie Yellow 2018-07-16 16:37

    I am a retired school teacher of 45 years, all in SD or ND. I hold no particular party loyalty—I mean I didn’t! My family roots were grounded in the SD Republican Party with several local and state elected officials in our family tree. I knew from the instant I heard Trump’s name there would be trouble. He is NOT a good businessman, a good leader, or a fair or honest person. Everyone should have know this! Why in God’s name the Republican Party treats him with kid gloves is beyond me, but I certainly have less respect for them, too. Talk about being duped! Farmers often live a risky life financially, with feast or famine often the case. Usually the weather is the determining factor, not the POTUS killing them! Remember that for the next couple of elections.

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