Michigan Agri-Business Losing 'Upwards Of $100M' Under Trump Tariffs

July 24, 2018 - 9:14 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - The announcement of a $12 billion "short-term" plan to help U.S. farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs brought on by President Donald Trump's tariffs on imported goods is not being enthusiastically embraced by farmers or agriculture.  

Michigan farmers and pork producers are already being hurt says Michigan Agri-Business Association President Jim Byrum, adding what's needed is a return to a market-driven economy. 

He says the pork industry has lost tens of millions under Trump's plan. 

"In the pork industry, it's been dramatic, we have seen millions and millions lost in the market - probably upwards of $100 million to Michigan pork producers. In the soybean industry - 41 percent of the  retaliatory tariff that China has imposed is going to impact soybean exports and we have a little market where we grow navy beans and about half the navy beans we grow are exported to the EU (European Union) ... and we're facing a 25 percent tariff in the EU, so there is substantial damage across the state."

Byrum says it’s also important to note that several other sectors of the agriculture supply chain, beyond farmers, have also been hurt by tariffs.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the plan will help a broad number of farmers deal with the cost of "disruptive markets" as U.S. trading partners have retaliated against President Donald Trump's tariffs on imported goods.

"Frankly, we believe that agriculture; farmers and the industry would rather get their income and their livelihood from the markets, and markets that has worked for decades and decades, in many cases, to try to create rather than a government program but given where we are at today this is a step forward I think," adds Byrum. 

Among those hurt the most from ongoing tariffs, Byrum says, are Michigan pork producers and soybean farmers ... who have already lost "millions of dollars."

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., telling the Associated Press, that the plan would spend billions on "gold crutches," adding, "America's farmers don't want to be paid to lose — they want to win by feeding the world. This administration's tariffs and bailouts aren't going to make America great again, they're just going to make it 1929 again."


The Associated Press contributed to this story.