Tariff War and Global Economy Hurting Midwest Farmers

Sep 3, 2019

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The ongoing trade dispute with China is likely to cost Nebraska’s farmers $943 million in lost revenue this year, according to the Nebraska Farm Bureau. However, the bureau says those losses will be partly offset by aid payments from the government.

But, the bureau says the lost revenue will add to the financial pressure on farmers in the state and hurt Nebraska's economy.

And the global economic slowdown and restrictive tariffs are part of the reason for stalled growth in nine Midwest states.  

The Mid-America Business Conditions Index dropped below growth neutral in August, hitting 49.3 compared with 52.0 in July. The index had remained above growth neutral for 32 straight months.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he blamed the slowdown on weak farm and manufacturing sectors, produced in part by tariffs and a global economic slowdown.

Brazil plans to buy more ethanol from the United States over the next year, a move that has received mixed reactions. Some ethanol supporters say a one-year commitment isn’t meaningful while other observers say the increase will help struggling Midwest corn farmers. 

Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, says the decision may indicate Brazil wants to start bilateral trade negotiations.

I understand that the president of Brazil has already indicated to our president that he wanted to negotiate with us. So that’s an important step because you can’t sit down without somebody across the table.

The Reuters news service reports Brazil is removing its tariffs on imported ethanol for a year. That could lead to it buying 25 percent more foreign ethanol than in the past. The move is expected to mainly impact US exporters.