Ag a positive in U.S. trade balance

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that farm prices have been on a downward trend for the past 15 years due to bad trade deals with other countries that put “massive Tariffs and Barries” on U.S. products. He said “Farmers will WIN!” in the trade war he has sparked.

Actually, farmers have been winning in trade with other countries. The U.S. Ag Department says the country ran a $17.4 billion surplus last year with ag products.

Trump said “The price of soybeans has fallen 50 percent since five years before the Election (his, we assume).” That may be true, but not because of bad trade deals. USDA figures show the price of soybeans has been relatively steady for the past five years.

But that was before Trump started his trade war with China, Canada, Mexico and other trading partners, who responded by slapping tariffs on soybeans and other ag products. If U.S. farmers can’t export their soybeans, the glut will drive down soybean prices.

It is true that Canada charges high tariffs on dairy, but the U.S. still ran a $474 million surplus in dairy trade with Canada last year.

Farmers were already winning in import-export game before Trump decided to step in for them, proving once again the wisdom of the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”