Farm income is down, Arkansas’s economy is slowing, and China just announced it is raising tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods starting June 1. This is all because of a faulty trade war that didn’t take Arkansas farmers and families into account.
Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Michael John Gray is calling on Arkansas’s Congressmen to put Arkansas first.
“There’s a trade war between the United States and China, and right now Arkansans aren’t winning. Arkansans work too hard and deal with too much uncertainty to be put in a position like this. Arkansans deserve U.S. Congressmen who put Arkansas first, instead of politicians who are more interested in pleasing the President. Right now our crew in D.C. are incapable of getting Arkansas in a winning position,” said Chairman Michael John Gray.
China said Monday it will slap tariffs on more than 5,000 U.S. products in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s decision to raise duties on Chinese goods amid trade talks between the world’s two largest economies. China’s Ministry of Finance said the new tariffs would impact $60 billion in U.S. imports and would range from 5% to 25%. The tariffs will take effect June 1, which would give the two sides time to resume trade negotiations that broke off last week without reaching a new deal. The tariffs will impact a wide range of U.S. products, including coffee, beef, salmon, flowers and some fruits and vegetables.
“The trade war almost couldn’t have come at a worse time for the agricultural industry: Farm debt is on the rise, farm income is in a three-year trough, and the American Farm Bureau Federation’s chief economist said last month that many farmers are dependent on off-farm income to keep their operations running. But farmers can’t push pause on their crops to try to wait out the trade war—they’re at the beck and call of the planting and harvesting seasons.
“Everything’s going up in price, but also the cost of labor is going up,” says Taylor Brooks, a salesperson at Boyd’s local equipment dealer, James River Equipment in Tappahannock. For now, Boyd, the founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association, has decided to spend about $2,600 on parts and fix the combine himself. If he were to pay someone else to do it, he estimates that it would cost him about $8,000.”