(ConservativeInsider.org) – This year has not been easy for most Americans, and farmers are no exception. While they remain resilient and ready to face another year, many were hit hard and in unexpected ways due to the pandemic. Thankfully, President Donald Trump provided solid support for them along the way.
Shutdowns Disrupt Food Distribution and Slow Demand For Crops
As the coronavirus pandemic began back in March, many citizens found the shelves at their local grocery stores lacking many shelf-stable items. But, there were also major meat shortages across the US, although not because of a lack of animals ready to be processed.
Meat and dairy processing plant shutdowns led farmers to slaughter animals without being able to sell the meat and forced others to dump gallons of milk instead of selling it. Unions believe that part of this waste is due to the centralization of meatpacking:
Let's talk about regional food systems (or the lack thereof).
-Just 50 plants account for about 98% of all beef slaughtering and processing nationally.
-85% of the beef market is controlled by just 4 firms, up from 25% 43 years ago. https://t.co/WNCuF5drcx
— National Farmers Union (@NFUDC) October 26, 2020
While this hurt many farmers, President Trump provided around $32.8 billion in bailouts and federal farm aid to help make ends meet when prices and procedures were unsteady.
Farmers’ Profits Have Been Dwindling for Years
While this year brought hardship, the true difficulty has come over the past decade. From 2012 to 2019, the price paid to farmers for corn fell 48%, from $6.89 to $3.56 per bushel. Milk, cattle, and pigs have also been fetching lower prices since 2015. Farmers, however, have not been able to cut the production costs of these commodities enough in order to make the same profit.
To help farmers over the long-haul, President Trump fought for deregulation of the industry and establishing the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal. His deregulation saved around $262 million for farms. Additionally, the White House fought to practically repeal the death tax, making family farms easier to pass from generation to generation.
Federal Aid to Farmers Helped, But 2021 Will Be Hard
Through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 1), around $16 billion was provided to farmers to help them keep working this year. This graph compares this year’s payments to previous years:
— Farm Policy (@FarmPolicy) September 5, 2020
After taking the COVID-19 pandemic into account, the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri anticipates farm income to be $82.2 billion, which is $21.9 billion less than its pre-COVID predictions.
While the industry has been hit hard and the recovery may be slower than desired, American farmers have always been resilient. The gains that President Trump made for rural America the past four years have not gone unnoticed and will hopefully keep our farming economy strong for years to come.
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