A Year After Trump Claims Farmers Are “Over the Hump,” They’re Struggling More Than Ever
(WISCONSIN) — A year after Trump came to Wisconsin declaring farmers were “over the hump,” and that they’d be doing “fantastically well,” at this point, nothing could be further from the truth. Since Trump took office over 2,000 Wisconsin dairy farms have disappeared, and crop farmers lost markets that took decades to create in just a short few months. In 2019 alone, Wisconsin lost 818 dairy farms and led the country in farm bankruptcies. Nationally, farm bankruptcies increased 20%, reaching the highest point since 2011.
“Trump destroyed thousands of Wisconsin farming families and the local economies they support with his chaotic trade wars and agriculture policies that reward giant agriculture companies and not the small and medium sized farms that bless the Badger state,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Philip Shulman said. “He’s never seen farmers as more than a bargaining chip, and just like with the Coronavirus, his belief is that one day the struggles he created will just magically disappear. Wisconsin farmers don’t need a delusional president — they need a leader, and that’s why they’ll be voting for Joe Biden in November.”
But Trump’s failure to take on China has extended into his COVID-19 response, which has further decimated farmers. By taking the word of the Chinese government over the US’s intelligence community and ignoring the growing crisis, farmers have been forced to dump milk, burn crops, and euthanize livestock.
“Trump has betrayed Wisconsin farmers as he has continuously bent the knee for China — all at our state’s and county’s expense. Had he taken the COVID-19 crisis seriously from the get-go he wouldn’t have compounded the pain he was already causing so many of our farming families and communities. What’s clear is the only way to get out of this mess and save our farming communities is by electing Joe Biden our next president,” Shulman concluded.
USDA Forecast China Would Only Buy About $14 Billion In U.S. Agriculture Per Year In FY 2020 And 2021 Compared To The $50 Billion Trump Promised Under His “Phase One” Trade Deal. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief economist, Robert Johansson, projected that agricultural exports to China would reach roughly $14 billion in the year that ends Sept. 30, a $4 billion increase from one year ago. But that amount would still fall far short of what White House officials said would take place based on the recently announced ‘Phase One’ trade deal with Chinese leaders. White House officials have said agricultural exports to China would be between $40 billion and $50 billion in each of the next two years.” [Washington Post, 2/20/20]
Nearly Halfway Through 2020, China Was Behind On Its Agricultural Purchase Targets, Buying $5.4 Billion Of Agricultural Goods, Or 39% of The Necessary Pace For Its Phase One Goal. “As of May, China had purchased $5.4 billion of agricultural goods, with a goal for the year of $33 billion in purchases. That puts China behind, but it could still meet its targets, according to calculations from Chad Bown, a senior fellow and trade data expert at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. Agricultural purchases are 39% of the pace needed to hit the phase one goal.” [Wall Street Journal, 7/5/20]
2019: U.S. Farm Bankruptcies Increased 20% To Reach The Highest Level Since 2011. “US farm bankruptcies were up 20% in 2019, despite the billions of dollars in aid President Donald Trump has paid to farmers hurt by the trade war with China. That’s the highest level since 2011, following the Great Recession, according to court data analyzed by the American Farm Bureau. There were 595 Chapter 12 family farm bankruptcies, nearly 100 more than in 2018, the trade group said.” [CNN, 1/30/20]
February 2020: USDA Protected That Farm Debt Would Rise To A Record-High Of $425 Billion, Up From $415 Billion In 2019. “Despite trade deals in North America and between the U.S. and China, crop prices remain subdued. The federal government isn’t expected to step in with fresh aid as it did last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday said it expects farm debt in 2020 to rise to a record $425 billion, up from $415 billion last year. The debt-to-asset ratio for farms remains at its highest point in more than 15 years, the USDA said, and farm bankruptcies jumped 24% last year.” [Wall Street Journal, 2/20/20]