The decade of the 1980s was one of the most devasting for farmers in the United States, with interest rates reaching 13 to 14 percent. In 2019, the average farm income has fallen to some of the lowest since that era. According to Politico, the strains felt by farmers can partly be credited to the trade wars which President Trump has engaged in.
In November, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis warned that there was an increase in bankruptcies used by farmers to restructure debt. Since then, the economic standing for farmers has only worsened. The impact of the trade war is unlikely to make conditions as bad as they were in the 1980s, but can still be devastating. Currently, interest rates for agriculture are at 5 or 6 percent and could lead to farmers leaning on the government for relief.
With the number of U.S. agricultural exports decreasing, President Trump’s support base could be as well. Through the 2016 campaign trail, he had great appeal to constituencies in areas where agriculture is central, and that are also considered battleground states, such as Iowa and Wisconsin. Looking ahead to 2020 as more and more Democrats enter the primary, Trump’s political success could be determined by his support within this base. Currently, representatives of this industry are making their way toward Washington to lobby for policies more beneficial to them, but the future of Trump and the trade war are still in question.