Land O’ Lakes CEO: Trump’s Trade War Is Shutting Down Generational Family Farms
Beth Ford, CEO of Land O’ Lakes, recently stated that President Donald Trump’s trade war will cause U.S. farmers to “lose farms that they've had in their families for generations," according to Newsweek.
Ford heads one of the country’s largest farmer and retail-member-owned cooperatives and represents thousands of landowners and agricultural producers. These groups have suffered due to a combination of Chinese tariffs and record-setting floods in the spring. Trump’s tariffs have cost American soybean farmers their Chinese market and resulted in prices for corn dropping more than 10 percent, now selling at only $9 a bushel.
On a recent CBS 60 Minutes report, Ford stated, “That’s a very low price. That means many farmers are losing money.” She went on to say, “More frustration is present because a number of people are going to lose their businesses. They're gonna lose farms that they've had in their families for generations."
The average farm income in 2017 was $43,000. As a result of the tariffs, in 2018 the median farm income was -$1500. These losses pushed bankruptcies in farm states to the highest level in a decade, mainly in farm states across the Midwest, which sell half of U.S. farm products.
Trump responded to the 60 Minutes episode with a tweet claiming that U.S. farmers were subsidized with $28 billion, paid for by the tariffs on Chinese imports. However, the increase in bankruptcies and concerns voiced by the Minnesota Farmers Union show that the subsidies were not nearly enough to cover farmers’ total losses.
U.S. farmers have been hit hard by President Donald Trump’s trade war and many are at risk of losing, or have already lost, their farms regardless of government subsidizing efforts.