Pork farmers are struggling with low prices, and they worry that a trade war with China could push them lower still.
CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.
The concerns are one reason why U.S. President Donald Trump announced a $12 billion bailout for U.S. farmers. It’s been well-received by farmers like Steve Baker, owner of Baker Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
“Maybe that will help them over the hump or something until better days ahead,” Baker said.
Baker’s farm produces pork products and his family have been farming the same land for 250 years. He is feeling the effect of the trade war between the U.S. and China. If exporters can’t sell their U.S. pork to China, they’ll have to sell it back home, pushing prices down.
“Everything is Economics 101–supply and demand–it’s got to get moved out or else it’s going to be some more price drops down the road,” he said.
It’s a sign of the knock-on effect a trade war can have, hitting even those not exporting to China.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Reuters that Trump’s plan would include around $8 billion in direct cash relief. It’s intended only for the 2018 crop. The farmers can apply for help at the beginning of September, with money going out in October. He conceded the plan wouldn’t cover all the losses.
Some in the Republican party, which in the past championed free trade, have ventured rare criticism of the president.
One senator said the approach is becoming more and more like a “soviet-style economy.”
Others have wondered whether the U.S. taxpayer will need to bail out other industries involved in the trade war.
Despite the concerns, Baker still supports the president. In his home of the Shenandoah Valley, Trump won 70 percent of the vote in 2016.
But if this trade war isn’t resolved soon, will the farmers be able to hold out?