Economy

Pork Farmers Lost Hundreds of Millions Even Before Trump’s New Tariffs

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Mexico have only been on the books since Friday, but American pork farmers had already lost a considerable amount of money before that point according to data from Iowa State University.

Iowa is the number one pork producing state in the country, producing four times as much pork as their nearest competitor (North Carolina), and they had already lost $560 million as a result of Trump's budding trade war with Mexico before he implemented tariffs.

Growing trade worries have cut pork prices in recent weeks, costing Iowa producers about $560 million, said Dermot Hayes, an Iowa State University economist.

Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. pork, based on volume.

Mexico bought $1.5 billion of U.S. pork last year, followed by China-Hong Kong at nearly $1.1 billion.

The tariffs are "potentially devastating news for Iowa’s pig farmers and the rural Iowa economy," said Gregg Hora, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Mexico has retaliated for Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum by imposing their own tariffs on American pork, meaning these numbers are about to get a whole lot worse.

This should not be confused with the $2.2 billion the pork industry has already lost as a result of Trump's trade war with China.

As someone who has eaten pork ribs and pork roast half a dozen times in recent weeks, I can attest to pork prices being extraordinarily cheap. And everyone loves cheap meat, but there's a hidden cost that you don't see at the grocery store and reduced prices will only be temporary as pork producers cut jobs and farm fewer pigs moving forward as a result of Trump's trade war.

  • Aynwrong

    This is what you wanted? This is what you get.

    • Scopedog

      Hope they’re happy….about being bent over the fence and given the business with no lube.

  • ninjaf

    Why is it that Republican voters can’t seem to read (or hear) analysis and apply it to their own situation? All of this was predicted by experts who tried to ring the alarm. But until they actually experience something first hand, Republican voters just can’t seem to understand the consequences of things.

    • Scopedog

      It’s simple–they do not care.

      • ninjaf

        I don’t think it is a matter of caring or not. I mean they really cannot empathize with a situation before it happens to them or they see someone directly affected by it. Even if experts tell them beforehand what the most likely outcomes are.

  • Ellen Kuhlmann

    Iowa went for Trump. Wonder what the talk is over coffee at the local diners lately.

    • Scopedog

      “It’s all Hillary’s fault!!”

  • muselet

    As ever, I wonder if how many of those pig farmers voted for Donald Trump and of those who did, how many realize what they did to themselves.

    –alopecia

    • Draxiar

      I have a step daughter and son in law that voted for trump. We were baffled especially since they utilize government assistance. Facebook misinformation played a big part of their decision as well as a healthy dose of government paranoia (and not the healthy kind). They have admitted they made a mistake. Fair enough. I hope they’re smarter this November.

      If the pig farmers, ostensibly part of the “forgotten” (who surely won’t be remembered by trump), who voted for trump hold him to account this November, okay, fair enough. I hope they’re smarter next time. If they aren’t they get what they deserve. I don’t want anyone to lose their livelihood and yet that may be the one thing that makes them realize that trump and his Republicans have never been nor will any of them ever be a proper representative for their well being.

      • muselet

        The people who voted for Donald Trump don’t seem too inclined to consider that vote a mistake (I’m glad to know there are exceptions). They tend to like his antics, mostly it seems because he pisses off “the liberals.”

        I fear that the majority of the Trump voters who are most hurt economically by Trump’s policies—not just his pointless trade war with the world—will find a way to blame liberals and Democrats and dusky folks and foreigners and those people in general for their misfortunes, and will further institutionalize crab-bucket politics.

        –alopecia

        • Draxiar

          And this is why I’ve been screaming that the Democrats need to get bloody and get ahead of the standard turnabout message. They should say now, “This policy will ensure the forgotten stay that way and it’s THEIR fault. Your misery is directly linked to their policies”, “The tax cuts don’t help you they help millionaires.” and so on. Make it easy to understand and to the point. Nuance is lost after 240 characters.

    • Aynwrong

      Respectively, all of them and none. #Sad

      • muselet

        Alas, true.

        –alopecia

    • Scopedog

      I often wonder if they even gave a damn. Of course, I wonder if they will even bother to blame Trump and the GOP.

  • Wildson

    When you vote based on racism, you get what you deserve…

    • Scopedog

      Harsh, but very true–and it needs to be repeated often.

  • simpfan

    Seems elections have consequences. Go figure.