Trade Politics Comes to the County Fair

As agricultural life is celebrated at county fairs nationwide, this year offers a new variable: President Trump’s global face-off over tariffs.

Comments: 20

  1. The following paragraph summarizes succinctly what is wrong with trump voters: "Mr. Ackerman [ the soybean farmer] knows he is “not bulletproof,” but with some hedging and a generational advantage over younger farmers with more debts and fewer savings, he figures he can handle a two-year trade battle." He knows that his president's trade war is likely to drive younger farmers out of business, but he doesn't seem to care because he knows he can survive a two-year trade battle. Call me bleeding heart if you wish, I call it social conscience. For crying out loud, people like me (the progressive ones) were marching for healthcare in 2009, although we have excellent healthcare. My cancer treatment cost me $100. I want everybody to have access to that. Yes, I have a six-figure income, but I also feel (having been brought up in a Christian household) that I am responsible for other people's welfare and help where I can. It's not just the sin of commission, but also the sin of omission. These trump supporters only focus on themselves, maybe their families, and that is it. The rest of us can go to hell with a hand basket. And they call themselves Christians. Shameful.

  2. I FIND IT STARTLING That, facing economic pressures from China due to Trump's trade policies, some of those who would be most adversely affected rationalize Trump's policies, believing that they must sacrifice for things to get better for US trade. They seem blithely unaware of the fact that Trump's tax "overhaul" is a huge ripoff of the 99%, transferring about $1.5 to $2.2 trillion to the 1% over the next 10 years. What I have difficulty understanding is the fact that Trump's supporters seem to overlook any of his many severe character flaws. They even see the video with Trump and Billy Bush where Trump describes in great detail his planned and frequent sexual assaults on women. What do they see as their recompense for making sacrifices for a person who extracts sacrifices from everyone else and is incapable of empathy or remorse? Their caring attitude toward Trump and his policies are most definitely NOT reciprocated. He is incapable of reciprocation, as he has no friends and only interacts with people if he can use them to advance his own purposes, in my personal opinion.

  3. Please stop with the Billy Bush thing - it is getting so old. Nobody cares about that anymore. When I was a lad I entered baking contests at the county fair. I was a 13-year old boy and I won the blue ribbon for my white bread. I competed against grown-ups - all women. I won and became a small-town phenom. County fairs were a big thing then and am happy that they still matter to many people. I grew up in a small town so I wasn't even among the farm families. But everyone - from small and big towns as well as farmers had a wonderful time at the fair. So, let's not get political about having a young kid raise a pig and sell it at the fair. That is America.

  4. It took decades for the current trade imbalance between the US and China to proliferate. It will take time for the trade scales to balance a bit. But the panic we see among some is probably unwarranted. For example, China cannot grow enough soybeans and probably never will. Which means that despite new tariffs on US soybeans, China will still have to buy it because there is not enough to purchase elsewhere. The point here is simple: China now knows the US is no longer going to stand for an ever increasing trade deficit with China. That message alone is worth a little unpredictability in the short term.

  5. Really. Will the US consumer stand for higher prices to benefit a few?

  6. Or they can bypass the US all together and buy soy from Brazil and Argentina or better yet Canada. By my book, it’s great, good riddance to this over subsidized part of the economy.

  7. County fairs are a VERY big deal here in Ohio. As a former farmboy, I remember anticipating the fair as the event of the year. I don’t often attend anymore, but when I do, it all seems familiar. The pigs and the tractors are bigger, and the rides are a little flashier; but it’s all pretty much the same. The fair is a celebration of a lifestyle, and its familiarity is probably very reassuring to people in changing times. I look at it with both nostalgia and sadness. I know those people and I feel sad for them, for the misfortune that awaits them as the last traces of rural life succumb to corporate control of society. My nostalgia is somewhat limited. My father, an educated and successful farmer, encouraged me in a path that led to a career in academic medicine. He loved the farm, and I think I could have done well on it. But he and I could both see what was coming. Farmers were even more unaware of what was being done to them than were my fellow physicians. I think I was able to fight back from higher ground as a doctor.

  8. County fairs are for the most part tourist attractions for locals and those in their regions with nostalgia. Shelby County is not dependent on farming, nor is Marion, Ohio, and certainly Alameda County is no longer dependent. This article would have benefited with a dive into the economics of farming in each of these locales. Wineries are big business still in Alameda County though a lot of grape is sourced from the central valley. The other huge omission is a county that grows food; who is picking the food and how does that tie into the Trump Administration's immigration policies and tariff wars with neighbors, allies, and China.

  9. These pro-trump farmers will ask for even bigger handouts from taxpayers (aka farm subsidies) to cover for their losses. Typical small-government, fiscally conservative types.

  10. Apart from the politics, I enjoyed this article for the pungent, vivid descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells of the fair... to which a visit has long been a favorite venture of the hot Sacramento summer.

  11. Depression already describes the market for food commodities. Trade restrictions will continue pushing down prices, and the victims will be the indebted farmers, whose assets will be captured by large corporations. Since these farmers support corporate welfare, racial nationalism, and imperial aggression, there is no sympathy or empathy for their loss of way of life. Even pity is difficult to summon for their plight, as their hubris and greed are what drive them to ruin.

  12. Farmers that think it is a good deal for Trump to challenge international trade with the wholescale shotgun approach he is taking are living in a fools world. Markets, especially for agriculture are developed with money and shoe leather. It takes time and a lot of hard work. It is not replaced overnight. Buyers will not go without product, they will move to other suppliers that they can depend on and for the most part, they will stay there. Lower prices caused by tariffs will attract other foreign buyers but only because of the savings in price. It will take huge investments in promotion and marketing to regain the market share lost to tariffs. Any idiot can understand this, but then Trump fits that description.

  13. IMO a change from the consumer aka garbage (use it once, toss it out, as much plastic packaging as possible) would be a good thing. How much more junque ordered onine and delivered in the mail can anyone wish for? (It is almost impossible to buy anything packaged in something that is reused or disintegrates in the landfill. those extra soybeans -- eat more tofu -- less salmon -- leave some for the orcas, wear the same jeans for years -- my oldest are 30 years old. Trump is awful but the tariffs may be a good thing.. BTW where does the $$ go? Is this another case of the poor paying for the rich?

  14. Business Owners and farmers need to stop whining. These so called trade agreements cut both ways. Consumers in the U.S. now pay more for the basic stuff of life, beef, grains, corn,pork, chicken, now oil since it is being exported. And when companies have moved their factories lot, stock and barrel to a foreign country that had no tariffis with the U.S. they left behind the misery of unemployment, broken marriages, drug addiction, medical care, etc. to be paid for by the folks in the U.S. while they greedily hired folks for $.25 per hour to make everything from sneakers to microchips to drugs. Trade agrrements were a fraud to begin with cooked up by the Bushes, Clintons and Obama. Ross Perot was on the money! But now lets reward all with low taxes...... America is feeling the fruits of what it once fought for, cheap imported labor to runs its factories while living in slums. It has just moved overseas. Give me your tired, hungry and poor......... What a bunch of eyewash. Ploiticians are owned by business today more than ever. Labor better wake up!

  15. I loved the Shelby County farmer who said the government should take people off welfare instead of hurting farmers. What a joke and selfish statement. Farmers are in the only business that i know of that have subsidies that guarantee them a price and protect against crop failure thru subsidized crop insurance---and throw in the 40% of the corn crop going to ethanol that increases the price of corn ....their philosophy--"mine isnt welfare; I deserve it !!

  16. Since I don't know farm subsidy programs does anyone know if these will sep in to help farmers?

  17. the administration has already talked about using an old depression era law to send free money to farmers if our actions impact them--just an aside most subsidies actually go to large farmers====trumps washing machine tariff has already increased the price of washing machines by 16%-there is no talk of helping consumers with the additional cost...

  18. The idea of necessary pain comes from hearing lies on Fox News, since no where else do "economists" say the trade war is worth doing, or correctly positioned by this incompetent leadership, or even so clear about what a "win" is. Trump's fighting China of 2002, not of today and Fox/Pravda won't report that. The pro-Trump quotes show callous disregard for fellow citizens. Get them off welfare, says one. Let's watch their businesses die, says another, as long as his is alright. It's important to be clear-eyed about how this is not a Christian country and not one in which citizenship means much. There is no fellow-feeling for other Americans simply because they are Americans. There are several contributing factors here: Puritan devotion to capitalism with losers punished as if they were sinners, and a post-Nixon racist party that's also the Party of the Rich. Hook the racist vote and then sell out the ordinary voters following you.

  19. They mention three votes in the article. One was Trump, one didn't vote, and the third can be assumed to have voted for Clinton. Dems and Reps have ignored small agriculture for years. Democrats haven't done much to help and Republicans continue to give farmers/ranchers empty promises while supporting corporate agriculture. Farmers and Ranchers aren't all Trump supporters. Its up to us (U.S.) citizens to support our small ranches and farms. Buy local, buy small, buy organic if its within your means. Buying what's cheap is partially what got us in to this mess.

  20. Whats likely to happen to our Soybean farmers? China will realize that they are dependent on us and fix that problem. Short term, maybe our farmers will be ok. If I were China I would look to make long term deals with Brazil, or anyone else to reduce my dependence on the US for soybeans. Our farmers should cut back on soybeans starting next year. Hope they have something to replace it.