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  Bumper crops and tariffs pose double whammy for Iowa farmers
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jul 08, 2018 12:58pm
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AuthorThe Gazette
News DateSaturday, July 7, 2018 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionDES MOINES — For the first time in roughly two decades, Trent Thiele is not expanding his Northeast Iowa farm.

It’s too risky, Thiele said, because prices on crops and livestock are too low thanks in large part to growing international trade disputes.

“We usually try to expand a little bit every year just so we aren’t going backward,” said Thiele, who farms pigs, soybeans and corn in Howard County. “We did not expand any at all this year due to where we’re at, with the uncertainty.”

With the United States initiating trade disputes with Canada, Mexico and China — three of Iowa’s four largest trading partners, according to federal data — farmers across the state expressed concern that a protracted trade war will have a devastating impact on their livelihoods.

Hog farmers have been dealing with lower prices since April, when China added a 25 percent tax on U.S. pork imports. That was in response to a new U.S. tax on imported steel and aluminum.

A second round of tariffs, implemented Friday, were applied to $34 billion of imported industrial goods from China in an effort to curb the country’s practice of appropriating technology from U.S. companies wanting to do business there. China responded again, adding tariffs to U.S. goods including soybeans and pork.

Iowa is the No. 1 state in the nation for pork exports and No. 2 for soybeans, according to federal data from 2016. Prices on both have been falling in anticipation of the Chinese tariffs.
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