STOCKTON, MO (03/12/18) - As a result of President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum with major trade partners some countries are threatening retaliation that could hit Missouri exports. One local Ozarks farmer says the issue is concerning.
Billy Bruce says him and his wife are both 5th generation farmers. He says that Missouri farmers, as a whole, are entering the fifth consecutive year of low, stagnant prices. Meaning if other countries retaliate with trade tariffs of their own Missouri could be one of the hardest hit states.
“Any increase on our inputs would affect that profit loss," explains Bruce. "We have a thin profit margin, right now, and any increase would have a direct effect.”
Bruce says the immediate affect would be on capitol assets such as equipment. According to Politico the European Union and Canada have said they will consider actions. China, already, investigating whether to limit imports. While Turkey has threatened the same on cotton, which is grown in southern Missouri. Keeping farmers, like Bruce, concerned.
Missouri’s largest industry is agriculture, which contributes over $88 billion, annually, to the state economy, according the Farm Bureau Federation. And Bruce says with everything up in the air the agricultural community is uncertain about their future. “There’s a lot of uncertainty moving forward," he says. "Maybe a little bit of discomfort with a lot of producers.”
With the President saying he’s very confident that if a trade war happened the United States would win. Making Missouri politicians speak out.
Senator Claire McCaskill said she’s very concerned that this will punish Missouri’s manufacturing and agriculture sectors. And Senator Roy Blunt expressing worries over a trade war.
But, Bruce says he’s a supporter of what Trump is doing for the tax side of agriculture. "You know it’s good see an administration that cares so much about agriculture and be invested in it and how he’s approached it," hopes Bruce. "I just hope he keeps the retaliation aspect in mind of what could be coming down the road.”