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Wed Aug 14, 2019, 06:32 PM

Iowa Farmers Stick With Trump Despite Trade War [View all]

DES MOINES, Iowa—As Mr. Trump maps out his re-election bid, farmers in this battleground state are backing him even with the U.S. Farm Belt bracing for deeper pain from his trade fight with China. In and around the livestock barns, agriculture building and an antique-tractor collection at the Iowa State Fair in recent days, farmers almost universally expressed support for the president and pledged to vote for him in 2020.


The battle between the world’s two biggest economies is weighing especially hard on rural America after China said earlier this month that it would suspend all imports of U.S. agricultural goods. The U.S. on Tuesday said it would delay tariffs on some Chinese consumer goods, and Mr. Trump expressed hope that China would commit to some agriculture purchases from America, but it was unclear whether any such pledge was forthcoming. In the wake of agricultural consolidation in recent decades, farmers aren’t nearly as large a group as they once were. But in heavily rural states like Iowa, which Mr. Trump won by almost 10 percentage points in 2016, they could still be an important voting bloc in 2020.


One of the reasons farmers are showing so much patience with Mr. Trump, even as commodity prices have suffered, is because his administration has provided tariff-related aid to farmers. Dan Taylor, who farms about 900 acres of corn, soybeans and livestock near Bouton, Iowa, called the checks the “Trump payment” and said last year’s assistance came close to making up for losses incurred as a result of the trade war. Mr. Taylor was a rare farmer who said he didn’t vote for Mr. Trump and compared farmers backing the president with evangelical Christians who, as a whole, have also strongly supported him even though some of his actions may be counter to their beliefs. “The ag sector is the same way,” Mr. Taylor said. “They’ll still give him their loyalty, even though the trade war isn’t doing ag any good.”


Still, some farmers off the fairgrounds said they see long-term damage from Mr. Trump’s actions. “Farmers have had lower prices, and they have so much market uncertainty, and all these markets that we’ve built—worked and worked and worked to build up over the years—now those relations are, are at, you know, all time lows,” said Aaron Lehman, president of the Iowa Farmers Union. “It’s going to take years for us to recover from how it was carried out.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/iowa-farmers-stick-with-trump-despite-trade-war-11565775003 (paid subscription)

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question everything Aug 14 OP
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