While our current members of Congress wring their hands over Donald Trump’s destructive trade war, Democratic candidate Tim Bjorkman yields the floor to South Dakota farmers who offer real evidence of real damage to South Dakota agriculture. Todd Epp reports these farmers’ testimony from Bjorkman’s Thursday press conference in Sioux Falls.
Soybean prices are down:
[SD Farmer’s Union president Doug] Sombke, [who] farms near Conde, said soybeans have dropped $3 per bushel since April, For him, with 1,000 acres in soybeans and production at 40 bushels per acre, that’s a $120,000 loss [Todd Epp, “Bjorkman, Aggies Want Actions Not Words on Tariffs,” KELO Radio, 2018.07.12].
Milk prices are down:
Mark Rogin, a dairy farmer from the Garretson area, said milk prices had just started to move to the break-even point before all the tariff talk. He says milk prices now have dropped $2-$2.50 per 100 weight, which means a $450,000 loss per month for his operation [Epp, 2018.07.12].
Corn prices are down:
Bo DeKramer, who farms near Canistota, says June should be the best month of the year to market corn. But because of the talk of tariffs and tariffs, corn dropped from $3.75 per bushel to $3. He said he fears severe consequences–such as the loss of farms and farmers–if things get worse [Epp, 2018.07.12].
Sombke and Rogin both identify trickle-down effects that are cutting into their operating capital and driving cutbacks in farm spending that hurt the overall South Dakota economy:
…Sombke said he went to an implement dealer to get a new bucket loader for his tractor. The dealer told him that simply because of the threat of tariffs, Sombke would have to pay seven percent more than the noted price. The dealer said that was because he was going to have to pay seven percent more to restock the item from his distributor.
…[Rogin] said he was going to put up a new $250,000 steel building, but now he can’t afford to. Rogin said that then cost the contractor profits and work for the employees [Epp, 2018.07.12].
Hear Sombke, Rogin, and DeKramer explain these problems themselves in Epp’s video:
Bjorkman says writing letters to Trump begging for mercy isn’t enough. This real economic harm to South Dakota farmers and the broader economy justifies the concrete response that Bjorkman has advocated all summer: reasserting Congress’s Article 1 Section 8 power to regulate trade with foreign nations and ending Trump’s destructive trade war.