Why Trump’s Trade War Could Mean Heavy Losses for U.S. Farmers

It could impact at least $74.5 billion in agricultural exports.
July 2, 2018, 10:31 AM UTC
Operations At Texana Feeders Beef Cattle Feedlot As Trump Led U.S. To Brink Of Trade War
An employee rides a horse through a pen of beef cattle during twice-daily health and safety inspections at the Texana Feeders feedlot in Floresville, Texas, U.S., on Monday, May 7, 2018. During a summit with President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this month, China offered minor concessions welcomed by the Americans by allowing more U.S. beef imports and opening its financial sector to greater U.S. investment. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Daniel Acker — Bloomberg via Getty Images

If a trade war breaks out, American farmers are likely to pay a hefty price. In recent months the Trump administration has announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the EU, and on $50 billion or more in products from China. The four major trading partners—who purchased a combined $74.5 billion in U.S. agricultural goods in 2017—have vowed retaliatory tariffs of their own, including on U.S. ag exports. That could add to farmers’ woes: Thanks in large part to lower grain prices, U.S. net farm income has plunged by over 50% since 2013.

A version of this article appears in the July 1, 2018 issue of Fortune with the headline “Much to Lose For U.S. Farmers”