US farmers speak out against Trump’s trade policy

US farmers speak out against Trump’s trade policy

  • China tensions and COVID hit agriculture — and chip away at a key support base

NEW YORK — Christopher Gibbs, a soybean farmer based in Ohio, voted for
President Donald Trump in 2016 with high hopes for better policy. But now
Gibbs, along with many others, says he is disappointed.

“The president promised better trade deals, but that was all smoke and
mirrors,” Gibbs told the Nikkei Asian Review. “What we didn’t anticipate was
that the president would destroy all of these trading relationships that U.S.
farmers have built over the past three decades, particularly in China.”

In 2016, the rural vote and agricultural support helped Trump into the White
House. But as his trade war and antagonism toward China continue to
devastate farmers’ business, and his pandemic response leaves rural
communities in limbo, the question is how much of that support will hold up
this November.

Last week, 38 farmers and rural community leaders from six swing states —
Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania — launched a
campaign called Rural America 2020.

The nonprofit organization aims to “spread the word about the Trump
Administration’s rural community failures, give a voice to rural communities,
and provide policy solutions for a stronger rural America,” according to the
organization’s website. Rural America 2020 also encourages farmers across
the country to tell their own story and grievances with the current
administration.