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Tariffs affecting farmers in Nebraska, Iowa

Posted at 7:04 PM, Jul 19, 2018

Farmers of a popular crop from Nebraska and Iowa are beginning to feel the effects of the trade war between the United States and China.

Soybean farmers are facing the possibility of bankruptcy and a decline in the number of farmers in the future. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse doesn't agree with the decision to initiate a trade war.

"Trade wars are stupid and nobody wins trade wars," Sasse said. "Trade wars are always lose-lose."

The decision to impose tariffs now begins to loom over Nebraska and Iowa farmers who produce the number one cash crop in the US. Senator Sasse says it's only a matter of months before problems like bankruptcy become a reality for those who farm for a living. He has already heard from farmers this month.

"I've had bean farmers in my office three of the last four days, and people end up starting to cry because there's so much worry about October and November when debt payments start becoming due," Sasse said. "So there's panic about how low our bean prices are, and guys are way below cost of production right now."

The issues continue with the possibility of a declining number of young farmers in the future. It's a phenomenon the US has already seen.

"My real concern is here in Nebraska and Iowa," American Soybean Association president John Heisdorffer said. "We have a lot of young farmers, and in the 80s we lost a group of farmers because of bad times and my fear is we're going to lose another group of young farmers with these tariffs coming on and the way our farm economy is."

Senator Sasse believes the US must continue to stick with the North American Free Trade Agreement in times of this trade war.

"We need to get beyond this moment of pretending a trade war can be won," Sasse said. "We need to get to a place where we affirm some reality about how good NAFTA has been for American generally and Nebraska specifically and we need to get that deal done."

President Trump expressed his feelings towards NAFTA during his run for the White House in 2016, calling it the worst trade agreement ever signed.