Trade disruptions add uncertainty to the U.S. agricultural economy. President Trump’s recent announcement to increase the tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods continues to chip away at an already fragile sector.
On top of trade disputes and tariffs, the EPA has been granting Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to oil refiners, which has harmed ethanol production, Nebraska has experienced devastating weather conditions, and crumbling infrastructure have all created a perfect storm for agriculture.
To help reduce the impact to U.S. farmers, the Trump administration is pursuing a second round of trade assistance programs for agriculture. During the first round of aid in the fall of 2018, corn farmers received a penny per bushel in harvested corn through the USDA’s Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
The news of a second round of trade aid has many Nebraska corn farmers concerned.
“We’ve always advocated for trade over aid,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester.
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“As a corn farmer, I appreciate the administration’s intent to help alleviate the losses farmers are experiencing due to trade disputes and tariffs, but a penny didn’t cut it last fall and it’s not going to cut it now. Nebraska corn farmers have lost an estimated $192 million over this last week due to increased trade tensions. A penny is a drop in the bucket.”
In response to a farm aid package, the Nebraska Corn Growers Association (NeCGA) and the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) are working in collaboration with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) to activate corn farmers across the state as well as throughout the entire Corn Belt.
Corn farmers are being asked to contact the White House directly to voice their concerns regarding the proposed aid package. Additionally, both NeCGA and NCB submitted formal letters to the Trump administration as well as Nebraska’s congressional delegation seeking their support during these times of trade disruptions.
“I’m not sure how much longer some corn farmers can withstand seeing corn prices in the red,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend.
“Nationally, trade disputes have already caused a $6.3 billion loss to corn farmers in 2018. While we’ve been patient in trade negotiations, we still don’t have an updated NAFTA and still haven’t resolved disputes with China. It will take more than a penny per bushel trade assistance package to help corn farmers.”
Corn farmers wanting to participate in Nebraska Corn’s call to action request can do so by emailing President Trump, or they can contact the White House directly at 202-456-1414.