Report: Tariffs Will Cost Nebraska Farmers $943 Million This Year

A map of retaliatory tariff losses in Nebraska counties. (Source: Nebraska Farm Bureau Report)
September 4, 2019 - 11:45am

The Nebraska Farm Bureau says the ongoing trade wars will cost Nebraska producers nearly $1 billion this year.

A report released Tuesday estimates $943 million in lost revenue in 2019. The Farm Bureau says that’s in addition to last year’s tariff losses of up to $1 billion.

President Trump’s steep tariffs on imported goods sparked retaliatory tariffs from China and Mexico, particularly on agricultural products. 

The Farm Bureau used USDA data to estimate how much tariffs implemented by China and several other countries could impact Nebraska producers. Farm Bureau senior economist Jay Rempe compiled the report and says certain agriculture sectors are affected more than others.

"Soybean losses exceed $588 million, corn $251 million and then on down the line," Rempe said. "Pork about $40 million because of some of the things happening in China as well."

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) says Congress needs to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the trade deal intended to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"Nebraska producers need access to the Canadian and Mexican markets, they’re the number one and number two trading partners for Nebraskan corn and for Nebraska beef," Sasse said Tuesday. 

The report says Nebraska soybean and corn growers will have the most losses from tariffs.

But Sasse says Trump’s fight with China over intellectual property theft is an important long-term battle.

"And Nebraska farmers and ranchers are willing to be relatively patient in this space knowing that telling the truth about a long term set of challenges with China is the right policy to bring the American people along," Sasse said. "And yet, we need lots of export markets and a lot of those are Asian."

The report says the hardest hit counties in Nebraska are Cuming, with an estimated $48 million in revenues and Custer County, with an estimated $34 million loss. The price tag for retaliatory tariffs doesn’t include beef, which has fared relatively well in the trade war. The USDA didn’t have an immediate comment on the report.

Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson said in a statement he appreciates the Trump administration’s support for farm and ranch families, but he also urges a quick resolution to the trade conflicts.

Farmers are feeling the effects of the trade wars in addition to severe weather damage and already-low commodity prices. Sasse says it's the number one issue he hears when travelling around the state. 

"They want to be sure there are export markets that they can sell to, because there are people out there who want to buy our stuff and we need to get trade wars out of the way so that Nebraska can continue to feed the world," Sasse said. 



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