Trump tariffs causing pain in two of Tennessee's largest Ag sectors

Jul 9, 2018

JACKSON, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Spokesman for two of Tennessee’s largest farm groups are expressing alarm at the impact President Donald Trump’s tariffs are having on their markets.

Charles Hord speaks for the Tennessee Cattleman’s Association says the growing threat of a trade war is concerning. He says the Association is a strong advocate of open markets.

Hord says Canada has already placed a 10 percent retaliatory tariff on American beef. He notes that after a 20 year effort, American beef recently gained entry to the Chinese market.

“Now they’re looking at putting tariffs on our product again - about 25 percent tariffs on beef imports to their country which will just kill our market when we compete with Australians and others that aren’t facing those tariffs. So we need those tariffs removed for sure.”

Don Willis farms about 3,000 acres here in Middle Tennessee; much of it in soybeans. He’s also a member of the Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board.

Willis says the market for his beans has dropped about 20 percent since the president announced the first of his tariffs. In fact, he says bean prices have now fallen below the cost of production. He worries a prolonged trade war may also cause his input prices to rise.

“A lot of the pesticides we use come from China. There will be tariffs on that. Some of the fertilize comes out of China. And also the steel…you know, all of our equipment, a lot of steel comes out of China.”

Both men say their associations are making it clear to lawmakers and the Trump Administration that the trade impasse needs to end, and soon.

Would you like to learn more about the Tennessee Cattleman's Association or the Tennessee Soybean Promotion Board?