Ag Today July 9, 2018

California dairy farmers, part of Trump’s base, stand to get creamed by his trade war

BY STUART LEAVENWORTH, McClatchy DC Bureau
July 06, 2018 03:22 PM

WASHINGTON
They voted for Donald Trump after he promised to protect American agriculture and reduce regulations. But many U.S. dairy farmers are now stinging from the trade war he’s launched, particularly those in California’s Central Valley, who have built their livelihoods on exports to Mexico, China and other markets.

President Trump’s tariffs on Canada, Mexico and China have prompted retaliatory actions, making it harder for U.S. farmers to export their products, depressing prices and adding to a glut of products such as cheese. The United States has nearly 1.4 billion pounds of cheese in cold storage, the highest amount since record-keeping began in 1917.

Even before the tariffs, some dairies were hurting, with their numbers in California dropping from 1,563 to 1,392 between 2012 and 2016, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

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