American farmers haven’t exactly loved the Trump farm bailouts; many have complained that they have so far favored the biggest farmers. But that hasn’t changed their minds about supporting President Trump in 2020.
Even as the trade war with China crushes the ag sector, farmers in Iowa – a critical swing state, and one that is currently crawling with Democratic Primary contenders who attended the Iowa State Fair – still overwhelmingly support President Trump, according to an informal survey of farmers carried out by the Wall Street Journal.
Iowa Farmers – who are among the largest producers of corn, soybeans and pork – largely said they appreciated the bailouts, even if they didn’t entirely compensate for trade-war-related losses, and applauded President Trump for at least trying to do the right thing and make sure the US is treated fairly.
“He’s doing a good job and trying to make sure we’re treated fairly,” said Kevin Prevo, a fifth-generation farmer who raises corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs on about 1,400 acres near Bloomfield, Iowa.
Mr. Prevo showed zero uncertainty when asked whether he would vote for Mr. Trump again in 2020. “You bet,” he said.
China said earlier this month that it would suspend all imports of US agricultural goods, then the US said it would delay tariffs on some Chinese consumer goods to – as Wilbur Ross explained on CNBC Wednesday morning – avoid hitting American consumers in the pocketbook during the holiday shopping season.
Democrats have been struggling to convince farmers that Trump doesn’t have their best interests at heart. Pete Buttigieg said during an interview at the fairgrounds on Tuesday that Trump’s actions have hurt farmers in Iowa and elsewhere.
“There’s no evidence to me that this is part of an actual plan,” he said. “I think he just poked them in the eye to see what would happen, and what happened is they retaliated.”
But those words unfortunately didn’t resonate.
“He’s doing the right thing,” said Leo Balk, a fifth-generation farmer who raises corn, soybeans, oats, beef and dairy cows on about 300 acres near New Hampton, Iowa. “It hurts, but his concept is absolutely right.”
Trump has hinted at another farm bailout as well: He’s already invested billions of dollars in retaining farmers’ loyalty. Why stop now?