A rose to ... patience. It’s a virtue and farmers have plenty. But even the angels in heaven have a breaking point. We’re beginning to see patience evolving into exasperation, defined in Webster’s as “anger, irritation, provoked,” or, as we in farm country would describe it, “had it with the trade war.”
In the year since President Trump announced his plan to put an end to China’s unfair practices, American farmers have played the role of the patient pawn. As they watched foreign markets evaporate — even before Trump implemented the first round of tariffs and China retaliated — farmers saw the value of their soybeans, corn and other commodities wither. Even our longtime, faithful trading partners, including neighboring Mexico and Canada, were angry about the U.S. tariffs, and their anger was evident as commodities prices plunged.
Today, two months after floods devastated Nebraska, farmers are realizing that all of that patience was for nothing. Their president said trade wars are easy to win, but now they are on the verge of hopelessness.
Playing the pawn is no fun, but that’s a role we’re familiar with in farm country. Presidents from both parties have used the nation’s crop and livestock producers as global bargaining chips. Trump’s China gambit is just the latest iteration.
We are sensing this week, as the agricultural organizations reacted to Trump’s suggestion it’s time for another round of trade war relief, that their patience no longer is for sale. They refuse to be bought. The first round of relief — $12 billion — translated into just a penny per bushel.
Sorry Mr. President, what else can you offer? Farmers want trade, not aid.
A raspberry to ... unfinished business. “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,” said David Bruntz of Friend, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board.
During the next several days, farmers like Bruntz are being encouraged to drop a call or letter in the mail to the White House.
The Nebraska Corn Growers Association and Nebraska Corn Board are collaborating with the National Corn Growers Association in urging farmers to write and phone the White House to tell the administration how the trade war and foot dragging on other trade issues is crippling their farming operations.
Corn farmers who want to participate in the call to action can dial the White House at email the president at 202-456-1414, or email to https://ncga.com/public-policy/stand-up-for-corn/take-action?vvsrc%2fCampaigns%2f66307%2fRespond.
Farmers also might want to contact Rep. Adrian Smith and Sens. Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse, and ask them to please help.