Photographed with mobile phone. Feet on the field. Straitel/iStock/GettyImages

The political side of the trade war

The 98% of people who don’t farm have become the international trade experts for the 2% of people who do farm.

When I write, I try to avoid politics, but this dang trade war has brought the political opinions out of the shadows. I don’t care which way a person voted, but the fact is that Trump is president and he has caused some disruption in global trade.

As I sit along the sidelines, I’ve noticed one big thing; the 98% of people who don’t farm have become the international trade experts for the 2% of people who do farm. Ironically, most of that 98% probably haven’t set foot in a soybean field. When it comes to food production, everyone seems to have an opinion. Maybe that’s how it should be. But, as a farmer, sometimes it can be a full-time job having to constantly stand up for our profession.

You may know by now that my sister lives in Kansas where her family raises grain, livestock, and three adorable kids. Last week, she shared this video. In the video, her friend was interviewed about the affects of tariffs on the Kansas soybean farmer.

I didn’t expect the firestorm that would follow in the Facebook comments. It seems like most comments followed this logic: Liberals say that the conservative farmers who voted for Trump are getting what they asked for. The liberals seem almost happy to see farmers are suffering from their so-called poor, misinformed decisions. They say those dumb farmers dug their own graves when they voted for Trump. On the contrary, it seems like conservatives still stand behind Trump, but are frustrated with both the crash in the market and the resulting $12 billion aid package.

A drop in prices

No matter how a farmer voted, he/she is faced with a $2 drop in soybean prices this summer. Hind sight is 20/20: we could have forward contracted, bought on the board when prices hit a low, etc.

No one really knows how this tariff thing will play out. Someone not actively in agriculture may not understand how market prices affect our bottom line. I’m about done discussing this trade war, as I don’t understand it completely yet. I’ll keep on doing my thing, raising soybeans, hedging profits when I can, and avoiding Facebook comments from outsiders who think they know more about my business than I do.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.

TAGS: Soybean Trade
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