Trade

Trump’s Trade War Drives More Farmers to Suicide

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The state of Wisconsin has seen over 900 suicides since 2017 and that includes a period of time that pre-dates Trump's trade war and the retaliatory tariffs our trading partners have placed on American agriculture in response, but farm industry experts say a significant portion of that number includes farmers.

The exact number of farmers who've committed suicide is not available, but industry support groups say the number of calls they received from distressed farmers surged in November and December of 2018.

Experts say a wide range of factors like low commodity prices have contributed to depression and suicides, but so has the frankly insulting amount of aide they've received or not received from the Trump regime.

John Peck, executive director of Family Farm Defenders, said rates of depression and suicide among farmers in Wisconsin have reached a level so extreme that the state has lost half of its farmers since 2004. [...]

Peck said Wisconsin was set to receive a total of $10 million in relief money for the state’s farmers, but that has yet to materialize.

There are only 11 farms that received $50,000 each, 237 [farms] got less than $100,” Peck said. “62 farms go less than $20 … one farm got only $1.

Peck also blamed large factory farms for lowering commodity prices by producing too much milk. And that's certainly a factor, but it's also true that the industry cannot find enough consumers to purchase their milk because of Trump's trade war with our closest neighbors and China. Losing access to the biggest consumer market in the world (China) means almost every agricultural sector has found itself with more product than it can sell.

The Wisconsin State Journal recently reported that calls to hotlines for distressed farmers increased by 33 percent in just November and December. State authorities speaking off the record also say that many deaths on farms listed as "accidents" were in fact suicides, but the total number of suicides on farms is unknown.

Even if we're fortunate enough to see a scenario in which China eliminates its retaliatory tariffs on American agriculture, that will still leave retaliatory tariffs imposed by many other countries including Mexico and Canada on the books.

  • mnpollio

    I would be more sympathetic for these people were it not for the fact that so many of them are still proclaiming that if they had to do it over again or do it in 2020, they would still cast a vote for Trump and the Republican Party. My sympathy pretty much dries up after that. If you are intent on being willfully self-destructive when there are other easier and better options out there that would better benefit you and the country in general, then there is nothing anyone else can do to help you when you won’t help yourself. If they are still operating under the lunacy that Trump/Republicans are their friends and they must vote for them, then suffer with the blowback that comes around. My sympathies are reserved for the people who have fought against this and are being taken down with them.

  • Draxiar

    I don’t care who they voted for, this is horrible and as many have stated, it will not be addressed. Looks like the “forgotten people” (to quote Kellyanne Conway) are once again forgotten by this criminal administration. I suppose to forget people though you have to acknowledge them first as people.

    • Badgerite

      Exactly so. trump and the entire trump family are phony as shit. I would have expected Walker and the gop controlled legislature to care more about our own but I don’t guess they actually do. They seem to be taken with the idea of being a automated distribution center for Foxconn more than anything having to do with the people of this state.

  • muselet

    The scale of depression and suicide among farmers is horrifying, and a sane government would respond promptly with assistance, both monetary and psychological.

    I’ll go out on a limb and suggest the Trump administration will do nothing, apart from a couple of Nuremberg rallies out in farm country.

    –alopecia

  • Christopher Foxx

    Remind me: Who did Wisconsin farmers overwhelmingly vote for in 2016?

  • Aynwrong

    My God…

    This is what happens when a government is run entirely by a political party that hates government.

    I’m betting it’s still not enough to convince Real Murica® that Trump is bleeding them dry and the GOP is a conspiracy to destroy them.

    • Draxiar

      “…hates government and people that aren’t obscenely wealthy.”

  • katanahamon

    Farming is still dangerous work, even with modern industrial techniques. This is yet another example of how the right wing has brainwashed rural voters into voting against their best interests. Again I say, Dems, get the word out. Show these farmers all across our nation that right wing policies are against them, yet reward the one percent, Wall Street, Washington DC grifters and big corporations. I would much rather buy domestic produce and meats, although if the FDA is going to continue being defunded and not staffed properly, it might be a toss up.

    • simpfan

      I live in Wisconsin, and the minute you get out of Madison/Milwaukee it turns into Trump country. I’m hoping these people are learning a big lesson, but I’m not holding my breath.