Trump’s Big Mouth Is Hurting American Farmers

 

It is likely that more than a few Americans have heard the phrase, “running your mouth,” and they probably know that it means “talking shit, stirring shit, or letting your mouth run off without thinking.” Of course this is a perfectly apt description of the current occupant of the White House who has done little more than “run his mouth” since before idiot Americans installed him in the Oval Office. By now only a comatose American is unaware that Trump’s habit of running his mouth has caused more than a few of our allies and neighbors to distance themselves from the America Trump rules. Maybe some Americans even know that Trump has tarnished America’s image on six continents because he just can’t stop running his mouth; especially over issues he has no business talking about, like trade.

Trump has demonstrated that although he has no qualms hurting every American alive who isn’t filthy rich, it is his base of support who are bound to feel the effects of a bloviate know-nothing first. And one of those groups has already complained bitterly that Trump is hurting their livelihood with his big mouth, and now they are speaking out again that Trump is creating a world of economic hurt without implementing a policy he has been running his mouth about ad nauseam; international trade.

Farmers across the nation were already bemoaning loud mouth Trump’s so-called immigration crackdown that is making it nearly impossible for them to find experienced field workers, and now they are crying over Trump’s anti-trade pact rhetoric that is costing them dearly. Trump ignorantly claims the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) destroyed America since its inception, especially singling out manufacturing jobs, but like everything Trump runs his mouth about he is wrong. Like the coal industry Trump champions, manufacturing jobs have been primarily lost to mechanization, not trade pacts. It is noteworthy that what few remaining manufacturing jobs have been lost were sent to China, not nations in NAFTA.

No matter if someone hates international trade agreements or not, NAFTA has been a boon to the agricultural export industry and the farmers and organizations that make up the industry are reporting their trading partners south of the border are not pleased any more than the American farmers are.

A couple of months ago the president of the U.S. Grains Council, Thomas Sleight, had to fly to Mexico to calm his organization’s worried trading partners who gave him a “frosty” greeting. It is an understatement to claim the Mexican agricultural trading partners are unimpressed with Trump; and not just because he regularly portrayed the Mexican people as “rapists” and “criminals.” Mr. Sleight said his customers were “annoyed” and “were insulted, really.” He added that “you don’t do that to your best customers.”

Sleight also related that “his customers” wanted to know “just why the president thought NAFTA was such a bad deal;” particularly when the NAFTA-created agricultural trade is highly regarded on all sides of the border as a “raging success.”

Indeed, since NAFTA was signed, Canada and Mexico have become, by far, “America’s largest export markets for American corn, pork, dairy, soybeans and poultry.” In fact, overall, total exports resulting from NAFTA grew from just $9 billion in 1993 to $41 billion by 2014. What that means for American farmers is that a little over “one of every ten” planted acres in America feeds Mexicans and Canadians; and those Mexicans and Canadians are pouring billions of dollars into America’s economy.

As Mr. Sleight noted when Trump was running his big mouth and badmouthing NAFTA as a raging failure, all he accomplished besides pissing off our neighbors is “create a problem for the American agricultural industry that had previously never existed.” But that’s what happens when a two-bit know-nothing “lets his mouth run off without thinking;” not that Trump ever does much “thinking.”

In Georgia recently, the top agricultural officials from Mexico, Canada and America met to discuss the upcoming NAFTA renegotiations and the “overwhelming consensus was that they all wanted NAFTA left alone.”

However, due to Trump’s big mouth and opposition to international trade agreements; “farmers in the Midwest, import-and-export associations in southern Arizona, and the biggest national agricultural groups are already seeing a negative impact and it may be too late to undo some of the damage.”

While Mr. Sleight was attempting to calm the Mexican farmers’ worries, all he “constantly heard was talk of their ‘Plan B’ in case they couldn’t buy or sell their products in the U.S.” In fact, many Mexican customers had already met with trade representatives from Argentina because that nation is not averse to international trade and would welcome tapping into a large portion of the $41 billion in agriculture sales. The ‘Plan B’ news prompted Sleight to say, “You know, those markets are critical. If we were to lose those you can’t make that up. You can’t just snap your finger and make that up.

Even without “renegotiating” NAFTA, Trump’s big mouth has cost American farmers dearly besides their inability to find field workers with expertise. Since he took office and Mexican farmers began exploring their Plan B, “American soybean exports to Mexico have dropped 15 percent, corn has dropped 6 percent; and chicken dropped 11 percent; the largest decline of 14 years.”  And those “rural states” that helped put Trump in the White House are worried sick that their primary industry will take more significant economic hits than have already occurred.

The president of the Fresh Produce Association of the America’s, Lance Jungmeyer, spoke for the Arizona-based import-export association and said Americans will suffer from a lack of seasonally-fresh fruits and vegetables if Mexico goes to its “Plan B. Now you go to the store and you get whatever you want.”

Jungmeyer also said that no matter what happens with NAFTA negotiations, the damage thus far it exactly what investors warn about when some idiot starts running their mouth.

When you have a threat, or even the possibility of a threat, of shutting down trade, that creates a real concern in people’s lives. They certainly are very worried about what next year looks like.”

That uncertainty about trade, a bonafide economic threat, entails nearly everything remotely related to Trump running his mouth and just one reason why he is despised on six continents. But although he represents a threat to world peace as much as world trade, it is the American agriculture industry that is feeling the economic pain now. If there weren’t innocent Americans and Mexican farmers feeling the pain, there would be a sense of justice for the people that elected Trump to feel a $41 billion hit on their industry and state economies. But sadly, they aren’t the only people in line for a healthy dose of damage from the loud mouth in the White House. Maybe when the American people have to pay $13 for a fresh tomato or bell pepper out of season, they will remember why and think twice about ever casting a vote for a con man that “talks shit, stirs shit, and lets his mouth run off.

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