international trade

Japan’s Parliament is convening this month and will likely take up a new trade deal with the United States. If enacted, the agreement might bring some good news to farmers, but no one really knows. 

Official language of the deal has not yet been made public, though the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said it would increase access to the Japanese market for U.S. wheat, pork, and beef.

Wrens chirp and butterflies fly between clover blossoms in a pasture in northeast Nebraska. It’s a serene scene until Dave Wright calls his cows and calves with a sharp, bellowing “Come boss!”

This is the beginning of the beef production chain. Nebraska’s a major link with 6.8 million cows (compared to its 1.9 million people), and its neighbors also lie squarely in cattle country; Kansas has 6.3 million cattle and Colorado 2.8 million. Nebraska also exports a great deal, too: $1.4 billion of the United States’ $8.33 billion yearly. 

Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET

The Trump administration will provide $16 billion in aid to help keep farmers afloat as they reel from the yearlong trade war between the U.S. and China, the latest sign that the world's two largest economies are still far from striking a long-term trade agreement.

The bulk of the support, or about $14.5 billion, is direct aid to farmers, which producers will start to see some time this summer, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters in a briefing on Thursday.

The details of the federal government’s $12 billion aid package for farmers affected by trade disputes are out — and soybean farmers are the major beneficiaries.

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Last week, the Trump Administration announced a $12 billion relief package to America’s farmers, hoping to ease the fallout from retaliatory tariffs imposed by China, the EU, Mexico, and Canada.

Roy Lindsey of the Oklahoma Pork Council says the aid package is a sign that the president is following through on his promises.

Lindsey told KGOU that the Oklahoma pork industry exports 28 percent of its product and depends on trade for future growth.

Public Domain

The Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles will likely soon suffer under the effects of Donald Trump’s various trade wars.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, the trade war will leave no part of Texas untouched. The Lone Star State has a greater number of exports hit by payback tariffs than any other state.

Kansas Department of Agriculture

Representatives from the Kansas Department of Agriculture traveled to Japan on an agribusiness trade mission led by the USDA last month. The purpose of the mission was to strengthen the relationship between Kansas agriculture and Japan and to explore potential new markets.

Kansas was represented by Mary Soukup, KDA assistant secretary, and Chad Bontrager, director of the KDA agribusiness development division.

Soukup said the trip provided a chance to meet with government officials and companies that rely on agricultural products in their businesses.

After months of verbally sparring with trade partners, the United States is poised to implement wide-reaching tariffs Friday on imported goods, and one in particular has the agriculture economy on edge: soybeans.

President Donald Trump spent part of Tuesday morning tweeting about Harley-Davidson, specifically calling out the motorcycle giant's plant in Kansas City.

A blossoming trade war between the United States and China could have a big impact on Kansas farmers and businesses.

President Donald Trump has made good on his threat to slap an additional 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. In turn, Chinese officials have committed to retaliatory tariffs in the same amount. But while U.S. tariffs are focused on tech products, Chinese tariffs will likely focus on agricultural goods.

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The Trump Administration is threatening a trade war with its closest allies, and the move could hurt Texas Panhandle businesses.

As The Dallas Morning News reports, the White House has pledged to slap tariffs on imports from the Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, with those entities warning that they plan to respond in kind.

From Texas Standard.

President Donald Trump has brought or threatened tariffs against many U.S. trading partners in an effort to bring them to the negotiating table. China threatened back, promising to bring tariffs against many U.S. imports. That trade battle may seem far away, but it is making a lot of farmers in Texas nervous.

It was an appropriate week for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s trade expert to address a gaggle of Nebraska farmers — even if their responses tended toward frustration.

Ted McKinney arrived in Omaha on Wednesday, the day China threatened to impose tariffs on 106 U.S. products including major exports like soybeans, beef and corn. China’s move came after the Trump administration’s attempt to reign in China’s abuse of intellectual property rules by proposing tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.

If the proposals become reality they could undermine a stagnant farm economy, and not just in Nebraska. “We have bills to pay and debts we must settle and cannot afford to lose any market,” Kansas Farm Bureau President Richard Felts said in a statement.

China has announced its intent to add additional tariffs to 106 U.S. products, including several of Kansas’ top agricultural exports.

Updated April 4 to clarify the export percentage — China matters to the U.S. pork industry, as more than a quarter of all hogs raised here are shipped there. So, China’s decision to up its tariffs on 128 U.S. products, pork included, worried producers and rippled through the stock market.

From Texas Standard.

According to the Dallas Federal Reserve’s monthly Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey, activity at Texas factories expanded in March. But the report also indicated that the production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, fell 15 points – the sixth biggest drop since 2004. So what does this mean for the state and its manufacturing industry?

When President Donald Trump follows through on his plan to tax imported steel and aluminum, American farmers will get less money for some crops and pay more for machinery.

Farm groups say their members worry the countries targeted by the tariffs (the list of which has not been finalized by the Trump administration) will tax farm products. The European Union already has threatened imports of corn, rice, cranberries, peanut butter, kidney beans, orange juice and even bourbon, which is usually made from corn.

There is a slight silver lining for consumers, however, because prices of those products may drop in the U.S.

Gobierno de Chile / Wikimedia Commons

Evidence is mounting that President Donald Trump’s decision to back out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is taking a heavy economic toll on rural America, reports POLITICO.

U.S. farmers and meat producers had been looking forward to seeing Asian markets opened up to their products. Instead, countries like Japan have taken their business elsewhere, seeking to purchase meats, grains and fruits from countries with lower tariffs.

Andy Sacks / Getty Images/MSNBC

Donald Trump won almost every farm state in this year’s presidential election. The electoral map is a wide swath of red, stretching from the Carolinas through much of the Midwest and into the Plains.

And, now that their man has won, farm groups say they’re hoping to change the president-elect’s mind about the economic importance of agricultural exports.

100 years on, Panama Canal still vital to farm economy

Jul 7, 2014
Jean-Pierre Martineau/Flickr

When it opened in 1914, the Panama Canal introduced the harvest from Midwest farms to the world and helped link U.S. farmers to the global economy. Nearly a century-old, the canal today remains an important connector of global trade, from the U.S. heartland to Asia.

“Obviously it’s one of our major achievements,” said Bill Angrick, a former state Ombudsman of Iowa who was born in the Canal Zone and has studied the engineering marvel. “It’s like going to the moon. It’s something we did well and did right.”