DES MOINES — A group of Iowa farmers say they have faith in President Donald Trump and are will suffer through what they think is short-term financial pain to achieve long-term market gain.
These farmers say Trump’s attempts to renegotiate international trade deals are necessary because China has not been a fair trading partner. So they will support Trump's efforts, even though the strategy includes tariffs — taxes on traded goods — that have led to China applying retaliatory tariffs that have driven down U.S. crop prices.
The six Iowa farmers gathered Friday with the Republican Party of Iowa to talk about the impact of the trade war on agriculture. All support Trump’s trade renegotiation strategy.
“We need to get this stuff straightened out, and I’m so glad we have a businessman that understands this and not a politician who just wants to go along to get along,” said Norman Rozendaal, a dairy farmer from Monroe, Iowa, who compared the financial strain on ag to pain from a healing scar. “We’re going to feel a little bit. I’m willing to take that, because it will soon be healed over and we’ll smile and look back with pleasure at the fair trading deal.”
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Doug Reimer, a hog farmer from Guttenberg in northeast Iowa. “We’re playing hardball with some hardball people.”
Many Iowa farmers have said in dozens of interviews this summer that they understand the Trump administration’s desire to improve trade for the U.S., but also know agriculture typically gets hit first and worst in a trade war, so they want to be held harmless. They encourage Trump to resolve the trade dispute as soon as possible.
Many of those gathered Friday will give Trump as much time as he needs. The group spoke of cautious optimism and a faith that any financial trouble caused by the tariffs and trade war will eventually dissolve when the U.S. has better trade deals with China and other countries.
“I do have faith that he is going to find a resolution in here and that we’ll find long-term good out of this short-term discomfort,” said Krystal Doolittle, a corn and soybean farmer from Williams in central Iowa.
“Mr. Trump has made promises during the campaign, which we all know what campaign promises are," Reimer said. "He is coming through on those. He’s trying. ... So far what he has told us he was going to do for agriculture has been happening. I just hope he can fix this.”
Reimer and others said farmers by nature are long-term thinkers and planners, which is why they are willing to sacrifice in the short-term if they believe the long-term will pay off.
“We all have a passion here. We want to feed the world, the country. And a lot days all we have is faith,” said Mike Bixler, a soybean, corn and sheep farmer from Clarence in southeast Iowa. “President Trump, he did say what he was going to do and made some promises. He’s not only taking on China, he’s taking on everybody. That’s all we have is faith, and I’m putting it behind President Trump right now.”