‘The margins are so thin’ Clay County Farmers Union Holds Annual Convention
Minnesota farmers are dealing with limited markets and low commodity prices as a result of the trade war with China
MOORHEAD, MINN. — Larry Jacobson has been farming his whole life.
“It’s something I’ve done since I was a little kid. When I was big enough to sit in the seat and turn the steering wheel, I was doing it,” he said.
And he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon, but it’s getting more and more difficult.
“The margins are so thin today, if you got any large amounts of debt, it’s going to be very difficult to make it all work.”
He says the financial burdens farmers are facing because of tariffs won’t be easy to get over.
“The recovery from this is going to be a long time coming. I would judge that — I’d say 12 years at the very minimum and maybe 20 years at the maximum for this to come back. It just takes time because once you lose those markets, they’re hard to get back.”
That’s why Noreen Thomas says it’s time for Minnesota farmers to get creative and take matters into their own hands.
“Sometimes when you’re just relying on a country that you’re exporting to, it’s kind of a dangerous situation to be in. So, I think we really need to dig deeper and think, ‘What can we do, also?’ Because if you’re just waiting for that solution, it’s like your hands are tied,” she said.
She says focusing on American ethanol is key.
“Not all ethanol is the same. We can be giving credits to companies that have ethanol, but it’s not U.S. ethanol. There’s a use for ethanol also in pharmaceutical. There’s uses for ethanol in different applications. But also, looking at how does that match up with the farmer,” said Thomas.
As well as investing locally.
“Minnesota and North Dakota wheat actually is superior nutritionally. So, when we look at that to feed our own families, we should be buying local, and we should know where it comes from because you’re also helping that farmer, you’re helping the economy, and those are the people that really pay for the schools and the roads,” she said.
According to the U.S. Trade Representative Office, the U.S. plans on raising an existing 25 percent tariff on some Chinese products to 30 percent on October 1.