American farmers say China tariffs are making life worse – and rancher support for Trump is fading fast


Farmers say President Donald Trump’s tariffs are making their lives worse, a sign his base of support may be lagging.

According to the American Farm Bureau, farming bankruptcies in the 12 months through June — roughly in line with the first year of the trade war — were up 13% from the previous year.

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Roger Johnson, the president of the National Farmers Union, told Markets Insider in an email that while chronic overproduction had also been an issue, as well as adverse weather and climate change having an impact on growing, Trump’s administration had added to the pain.

“Instead of looking to solve existing problems in our agricultural sector, this administration has just created new ones,” Johnson said, adding that Trump was “burning bridges with all of our biggest trading partners.”

“Things have been difficult for farmers long before this trade war rolled around,” he said. “Farmers are making half of what they were in 2013, and they’ve taken on record levels of debt just to keep their doors open.”

Support for Trump among farmers still appears strong, but there are signs it is waning. In a Farm Journal Pulse survey of 1,153 farmers on Friday, 71% said they still supported the president. But the number of farmers who strongly approved of the president fell by 10 percentage points, to 43%, from a survey in early July.

But despite pleas from Trump’s voter heartland to reverse the trade war, Trump has continued to battle China over trade practices he calls unfair.

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