As farmers across America face financial heartache from Trump’s erratic policies, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue continued to blame farmers and discredit their hardship.
Trump’s secretary of agriculture called the number of farm bankruptcies — which has skyrocketed to near a record high — “relatively small.”
Perdue: “While we are seeing more bankruptcies, the overall number is still relatively small.”
Perdue: “You know if you start with two and you go to three, that’s a fifty percent increase.”
Perdue called farmers’ legitimate worries “emotional” and accused them of looking for a scapegoat.
Perdue: “I know that emotionally people want to talk about it. You got to have something to blame in farming, if you’re a farmer you’ve just got to have something to blame.”
Perdue: “Farmers, many of them, three, four, five years ago weren’t having to borrow any operating money. And then you have to borrow, and that’s a change that really reflects the psychology and emotion and it makes you feel like you’re doing a lot worse than you are.”
Perdue: “So we’ve had this trade war for a couple of years and a lot of people like to use that as a reason or an excuse, but these prices have been going down, there’s been economic stress.”
Meanwhile, farmers across the country continue to hurt because of Trump’s broken promises.
“Tariffs for agriculture have been devastating… In northwest Ohio, [farmers] have had a heck of a time.” – Northwest Ohio farmer
“We’re losing all this money, and we’re just supposed to like, be patriotic?” – Wisconsin corn and soybean farmer
“[Y]ou hear they get together and get some positive news out of D.C., or whoever they’re negotiating, and you have a little bit of hope, and a week later it blows up with a tweet sometimes or the Chinese say ‘no, we’re not going to honor that deal.’” – Iowa soybean, corn, and alfalfa farmer
“We [have] worked for years and years and years to build relationships and grow markets, and they can be destroyed with the stroke of a pen in the political realm.” – Iowa corn and soybean farmer
“I’m concerned because reading stories of other farmers either losing their farms or committing suicide just hits home that the struggle is real.” – Iowa soybean and corn farmer
Instead of protecting farmers as he promised, Trump keeps lying to them. After weeks of Trump lying about the status of Chinese agriculture purchases and telling farmers to buy more equipment and land to meet demand, the promised purchases have hit another snag — and again left farmers in the lurch.
Trump told farmers that China had committed to spending $50 billion on U.S. agricultural products — China hasn’t.
Bloomberg: “Trade Talks Hit Bump as China Resists U.S. Demands on Agricultural Purchases”
Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Trump has said that China has agreed to buy up to $50 billion of soybeans, pork and other agricultural products from the U.S. annually. But China is leery of putting a numerical commitment in the text of an agreement, according to people familiar with the matter.”
…but that hasn’t stopped Trump from repeating this lie to farmers, over and over again.
Trump: “And we just made a deal for our farmers, where $40 billion to $50 billion of agricultural products are going to be bought by China. And they’re going to start now before we even sign the agreement. They’ve already started.”
Trump: “And now China is buying tremendous amounts of product — agricultural product. They’ve started.”
Trump: “Thanks to my tariffs, we will soon have over $100 billion from a country that didn’t want to do anything with us, and I will tell you they started buying our farm product; you see that.”
Trump told farmers they had to buy new equipment and land to meet the new export demand that he had made up.
Trump: “We’re talking about a $40 [billion] to $50 billion purchase and other things. I mean, it’s an incredible deal for farmers. I think they’ll have to go out and buy more land and buy bigger tractors.”
Trump: “I said, ‘Tell them to buy larger tractors. It’s very simple.’ They’ll buy more land and they’ll buy larger tractors.”
Trump’s lies and exaggerations aren’t harmless. Farmers say they’re hurting and struggling with uncertainty Trump’s erratic policies have created.
“The tariffs have hurt everyone. Farmers play the long game, but in the short run there are lots of struggles.” – Kentucky soybean and corn farmer
“I don’t know of a grower in North Carolina that has a plan for next year. Survival is the plan right now.” – North Carolina farmer
“Are you optimistic about your son’s prospects of being a tobacco farmer?” North Carolina farmer: “I used to be. Now it’s questionable. Once these tariffs are eliminated or settled, you can talk to me then.”