Texas Farmers Facing Tariffs And Drought Keep A Watchful Eye On Washington And The Farm Bill

“The ideal solution is to bargain tough, to get back to the table, to solve the tariff situation.”

By Jill AmentAugust 28, 2018 3:15 pm,

It’s been one of the hottest years on record in parts of Texas -– and a dry one, too. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows more than 80 percent of the state is in some stage of drought. That’s been hard on some Texas crops. The father-in-law of one of our Texas Standard producers lamented that his recent corn harvest left him with just a third of the yield he should have gotten.

Farmers across the state are looking to Washington for some answers as lawmakers work to hash out the latest iteration of the farm bill. Gene Hall is the director of communications with the Texas Farm Bureau. He says the farm bill, which must be renewed every five years, has passed both houses of Congress, and is now headed to a conference committee. Hall says final action is expected in the fall.

“The primary function of the farm bill is as a vehicle for farm insurance,” Hall says. “The risks in farming are so great that our position and agricultures position, for the most part, that it would be almost impossible to farm without some kind of risk protection in the form of crop insurance.”

Hall says farmers have other issues to contend with, too, including the Trump administration’s tariff policies, and the growing drought in Texas. One Texas crop has taken the largest hit from tariffs.

“I don’t think there’s any question that it’s soybeans,” Hall says.

“The Chinese were the top buyer of soybeans,” he says “and suddenly, our product is no longer competitive in that market.”

Hall says Trump’s plan to provide $6 billion in assistance to farmers affected by tariffs is welcome, though it’s not the best option.

“The ideal solution is to bargain tough, to get back to the table, to solve the tariff situation,” he says.

 

Written by Shelly Brisbin.