Iowa Farmers Explain How Trump’s Trade War Is Hurting Them

"We're selling beans at a price that's below our cost of production," one farmer said of her soybeans.
August 15, 2019, 7:15pm

Chinese tariffs on American goods have specifically targeted industries in red states. That means some of Trump’s most loyal supporters — American farmers — are taking a hit.

In 2017, China was the second-largest market for agricultural products from the U.S., but since Trump’s tough talk on trade, the country has been buying 60% less product, crushing prices for crops like soybeans.

“Fifteen months ago an Iowa farmer could sell soybeans at his local elevator for around $10 a bushel,” farmer Lindsay Greiner told VICE News. “Today you can sell those same soybeans for around $7.75 a bushel. That's a reduction of $2.25 a bushel. We're selling beans at a price that is below our cost of production.”

Last week, they got more bad news: China was canceling all purchases of American agricultural products over more tough talk from Trump.

Greiner is getting worn out by it. “This trade dispute with China has been going on for over a year and to me I'm running out of patience," she said.

The Trump administration tried to soften their pain by doling out almost $25 billion in subsidies. Even so, many are struggling and want to see a sustainable trade deal.

“Let's have free trade. We'll sell you what you need and we'll buy from you what we need and do away with the tariffs. Let the market take care of it,” Greiner said.

This segment originally aired August 15, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.