“Trade Wars are Easy to Win”…Iowa farmers….

… are desperately hoping Donald Trump is right!

I always come back from my wife’s Iowa reunions with new insights. Her cousin who farms a lot of her farm inheritance is free with his views and has a perspective worth listening too even though my politics are not his.

I’ve read much about how farmers, whose products help feed China, are in the process of turning against Trump. This may be true but some have a legitimate reason to fear his defeat. More on that in a moment.

Corn and soybean growers are particularly vulnerable and so too pork producers who raise a commodity much prized on Chinese tables. Other nations can clear land to compete with us particularly countries in South America. Up to a point many American Farmers have bought Trump’s argument that they have a duty to put some restraints on a rogue Chinese economy. And my wife’s cousin appreciates Trump’s actions to compensate farmers for some of their trade war losses.

He is skeptical that other nations can step in soon to fill the void left by China’s refusal to buy our farm goods. We have the infrastructure and mechanics in place as well as the food. And American pork producers may be saved by some really bad news for Chinese pork producers. A swine flu is wreaking havoc on Chinese pig farms necessitating the slaughter of diseased populations to prevent further outbreaks.

Official government sources report that this has affected about 12 percent of the swine. But a lot of American experts are tromping around China and something of a consensus is emerging from them that slaughtered swine may be nearing four times that figure perhaps forty percent of Chinese pork production has evaporated.

This is not Mao’s China. It is a China nipping at the heels of the United States with prosperous people who have come to expect food on the table not shortages. It will he hard for Premier Xi to deny them pork. That would be a boon to American pork producers and the American corn and soybean growers who are fattening up American pork for the Chinese market.

I am in no position to second guess my canny and business savvy friend about any of this analysis.

But there is one item that sticks in some corn grower’s craws. Trump has gutted the ethanol industry. Almost 40 major ethanol plants that turn corn into fuel for cars have been closed at the behest of the Oil Industry. This is despite Trump’s campaign promises to protect ethanol.

These farmers are on a knife’s edge and Trump’s China policies will make or break them. So, they are sticking with Trump because having started a trade war with China many feel that only a reelected Trump will keep up the pressure and force China to back down. They are worried that a Democratic president will cave in to China and cede the upper hand to China forever. This would render their current sacrifice meaningless as well as painful.

So that, along with a lot of calories from roast pork and pot luck desserts was one of my takeaways from Iowa.