Missouri Continues to Feel Tariff Fallout Ahead of Trump Rally

QUOTE FROM ALAN WEBER, FARMER AND AGRICULTURAL ECONOMIST, MARSHALL, MO: “Tariffs have already done significant damage to Missouri’s agriculture industry – and that’s just part of the story. Across the state, farmers, manufacturers, small businesses, workers, and families are facing increased costs, fewer jobs, and higher prices because of tariffs. Unfortunately, unless the trade war ends, things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.”

TARIFF EFFECT ON MISSOURI IS ‘NOT SUSTAINABLE.’ “’Definitely the tariffs are the biggest negative thing we’ve seen,’ said Adam Jones, a farmer from Old Monroe in Lincoln County. ‘It feels odd to see these prices drop and not have any way to help yourself.’ ‘The main cash crop I grow is soybeans, which has taken the largest hit,’ adds Russell, the farmer from Richmond, Mo. He said his farm is ‘producing our corn and soybeans at negative returns,’ including about a $2 per bushel loss on soybeans. ‘That’s something that’s not sustainable,’ he said.” (Bryce Gray & Andrew Nguyen, “Tariffs and drought weigh heavily on farmers,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/19/18)

STEEL TARIFFS HIT MISSOURI MANUFACTURERS. “Doug Olds is the vice president of Washington Metal Fabricators in Washington, Missouri. The company buys raw metal from U.S. producers and turns it into finished products for various clients. He told Newsy, ‘For years, we’ve been able to ride the bubble out. Steel market fluctuated minorly, and we just never raised our prices or lowered our prices. … This was such a big hit, we did have to raise prices.’” (Matt Picht & Cliff Judy, “Trump’s Trade War Is Leaving Missourians Bruised, But Not Broken,” Newsy, 10/11/18)

TARIFFS DRIVE SOYBEAN PRICES DOWN. “Patrick Westhoff, director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, said that while it is difficult to attribute economic trends to any one factor, the tariffs certainly deserve blame for these dropping soybean prices, and that has been reflected in farmers’ bottom lines. ‘Yes, it has affected U.S. prices. Certainly, the lower prices have reduced income levels for every producer,’ Westhoff said, adding that a Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute report from August projected the market year average price at $8.73 per soybean bushel, the lowest since 2006. ‘Prices are down roughly 20 percent over the last six months,’ said Christine Tew, director of communications for the Missouri Soybean Association.” (Andrew Withers, “FACT CHECK: How bad off will soybean farmers be this year?” The Columbia Missourian, 10/27/18)

  • “A bumper crop has weighed on soybean prices this year, and trade tariffs already have added pressure on prices of other crops… Soybean futures are down 16 percent since April.” (Lori Ann LaRocco, “Soybean and Pea Farmers Scramble as China and European Trade Missions Cancel Visits,” CNBC, 8/20/18)
  • “Soybeans are the state’s most valuable cash crop, and the export market is hugely important for farmers.” (David Nicklaus, “The Case of the Missing Soybeans, or Why Tariffs’ Missouri Effect Is Being Underestimated,” St. Louis Post Dispatch, 7/3/18)

MISSOURI MANUFACTURER FACING CLOSURE OVER TARIFFS. “Mid Continent Nail employed about 500 workers in Poplar Bluff — population 17,070 — before Trump’s tariffs on Mexican steel took effect in June. Since then, nearly 200 employees have been laid off or left voluntarily. Mid Continent’s facilities could shutter ‘by the end of the month,’ said the company’s spokeswoman, Elizabeth Heaton.” (Allison Kite, “Missouri company facing closure over tariffs is at center of McCaskill, Hawley battle,” The Kansas City Star, 10/14/18)

  • “Trump’s tariff war against America’s trading partners has driven up the cost of imported steel from Mexico by 25 percent. Mid Continent Nail Corp. of Poplar Bluff, Mo., is owned by Mexican company Deacero, which provides its steel. With the tariffs pushing up the price of its nails, the company has lost market share, requiring it to lay off about 100 of its 500-employee workforce; the rest might follow.” (Editorial: “Hawley Chooses the Wrong Side in Trump’s Trade War,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 8/23/18)
  • ‘MISSOURI NAIL COMPANY CITES TARIFFS FOR ADDITIONAL LAYOFFS.’ “Mid Continent Nail Corporation in southeast Missouri’s Poplar Bluff has laid off about 160 workers since President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports began on June 1. The company now employs fewer than 340 workers, down from about 500 before the tariffs took effect. Temporary workers have been let go and some permanent workers have left for other jobs and have not been replaced.” (Alisa Nelson, “Missouri Nail Comapny Cites Tariffs for Additional Layoffs,” Missourinet, 8/18/18)
  • “Missouri’s Mid-Continent Nail Corporation spokesman James Glassman says ‘jobs are in severe jeopardy’ due to steel tariffs. If the company is not granted an exclusion, he said the company could move to Mexico or go out of business.” (“US Nail Company on ‘Brink of Extinction Because of Tariffs,” CNN, 6/26/18)

‘MISSOURI FARMERS SAY TRADE WAR THREATENING THEIR BUSINESS AND LEGACY.’ “Some Missouri farmers say they are losing money and are concerned they could lose their farms due to the Trade War with China. ‘I’ve been a farmer since 1951 and it looks like that maybe this might be that first year that we’re going in the red,’ said Dale Edmondson, an 87-year-old farmer in Polk County.  He says he has 7,000 bushels of soybeans from last year that haven’t yet been sold. ‘We’re at the mercy of the market,’ he said. ‘I have survived droughts. I have survived high interests. And I’ve survived a lot of things, but I don’t know whether we can survive this trade war or not.’” (Jennifer Abreu, “Missouri Farmers Say Trade War Threatening Their Business and Legacy,” OzarksFirst.com, 8/8/18)

HOG FARMERS FACE OPERATING LOSSES THANKS TO TARIFFS. “Due to the increased supply of pork this year coupled with the tariffs placed on pork exports to Mexico and China, prices are expected to drop significantly. ‘They estimate that this will further decrease the price by about $9 per head,’ Doherty said. ‘So, we are already looking at some kind of a loss per head going into late 2018 and then into 2019. Basically, it’s making a bad situation worse.’” (“Excess Pork Supply, Tariffs Mean Losses for Illinois Pork Farmers,” WQAD, 8/6/18)

TRADE WAR THREATENS $880 MILLION IN MISSOURI EXPORTS. “The Missouri Chamber of Commerce estimates the state could lose  $880 million because of this trade war.” (Jennifer Abreu, “Missouri Farmers Say Trade War Threatening Their Business and Legacy,” OzarksFirst.com, 8/8/18)


AMERICAN FARMERS ‘THE PRIMARY LOSERS’ AS FOREIGN COMPETITORS EAT UP OVERSEAS MARKETS. “Of the $20 billion in U.S. agricultural goods that went to China last year, more than half was in soybeans. China’s move sent U.S. soybean prices plunging nearly 20 percent, to the detriment of Midwestern farmers. But not everybody’s suffering. In a recent research note, economists from market-research firm TS Lombard observed that ‘global trading firms will easily skirt China’s soybean tariffs and leave U.S. growers the primary losers’ and that ‘the big winners will be Brazilian farmers and the big grain companies.’” (Editorial, “Meet the Winners of the Trade War,” Weekly Standard, 8/7/18)