Today (Oct. 11) I read a Drudge Report headline that 51% of Americans would like to see President Trump impeached.
The number came from a Fox News poll released Oct. 9 that reported just more than half of voters want Trump impeached and removed from office.
According to the poll, 51% want him impeached and removed from office, another 4% want him impeached but not removed, and 40% oppose impeachment altogether.
That compares with numbers in July that showed 42% favored impeachment and removal, 5% wanted him to be impeached but not removed and 45% opposed impeachment.
In any case, the presidency of Donald Trump has been a roller coaster ride, for America as a whole and particularly for farmers.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has often said that Trump has a special affinity for farmers. Perhaps, but Trump’s campaign rhetoric about the North American Free Trade Agreement and immediate decision to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement went against most farmers’ sensibilities. His Trumpisms (NAFTA was the “worst trade deal maybe ever”) and tweeted exclamations also revealed the central role that trade issues would have during his presidency.
Farmers have been solidly in Trump’s corner, but an Aug. 23 poll from Farm Journal shows that his support was waned somewhat compared with earlier in the year.
The survey of 1,153 farmers showed 71% of them approved of the job Trump is doing, down from 79% of farmers who approved of Trump in July. The August numbers showed 43% strongly approve, which is down 10% from July.
During his presidency, Trump has slowed down the rush of regulations affecting farmers.
But has what Trump done so far been good or bad for the balance sheet of growers?
Retaliatory tariffs of 40% for U.S. fruit shipments to China have had predictable effects.
The export picture for fresh fruit isn’t pretty for the last couple of years. Just looking at China alone, U.S. exports of citrus to China have fallen from more than 50,000 metric tons in 2016-17 (September to August) to 23,900 metric tons in 2018-19.
Trump may yet work his magic and continue to charm growers no matter how stark the realities of exports.
In my view, however, President Trump must solve the trade negotiations with China in a way that restores the potential of that market sooner rather than later.
I’m surprised grower groups — including but not limited to produce groups — aren’t making more noise to insist that current trade barriers are quickly removed. It is time for some more forceful push back.
If current retaliatory tariffs continue to hamper growers until mid-2020, even Trump’s most loyal supporters on the farm may have to look for an acceptable alternative.
Tom Karst is The Packer’s editor. E-mail him at [email protected].