Dawson County estimated to have lost $32 million due to trade war

LEXINGTON — Dawson County has seen the fourth highest commodity trade losses in the state, estimated to be $32,111,073.38, due to the retaliatory tariffs put in place by importing nation in repose to the Trump administration’s tariffs.

A new report from the Nebraska Farm Bureau shows Nebraska farmers have lost nearly $1 billion in 2019 due to the continued trade war with China.

“The Farm Bureau estimates the ongoing retaliatory tariffs imposed by countries on U.S. agricultural exports will cost Nebraska producers $943 million in lost revenues in 2019. The projected losses would be in addition to tariff related losses in farm level income estimated between $695 million to $1.026 billion in 2018,” the report said.

Dawson County is one of four counties in the state which have been hit the hardest by the trade war brought on by the current administration.

The trade war between China and the United States has pitted the world’s two largest national economics against one another.

The conflict was initiated by President Donald Trump in 2018, in the hope of forcing China to make changes to their trade practices. Yet as the tariffs increase with no end in sight, Beijing is not the only one affected. As the Farm Bureau report shows, the farmers and ranchers of this state have borne the struggle on their own backs.

China may even be finding some benefit between the tariffs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, imports from China grew from $38,230 million to $50,032 million after the trade war was underway. This indicates there is a growth in demand for goods from China in the United States.

Farm Bureau Senior Economist Jay Rempe said “In terms of trade related losses estimated on a county-by-county basis, Cuming County is the most impacted county with estimated trade losses exceeding $48 million. Custer, Dawson, and Lincoln Counties followed with losses exceeding $32 million, while Platte County experienced losses of nearly $30 million.”

County neighbors like Gosper saw a loss of around $4 million, Buffalo, $12 million and Phelps, $24 million.

Nebraska producers have seen losses across the board thanks to the trade war. Soybeans took a $588.5 million hit, corn saw losses of $251.3 million, pork, $39.6 million, sorghum, $26.2 million, wheat, $23.1 million, alfalfa, $9.6 million, dairy, $2.9 million and dried beans $2.0 million. In total it amounts to 943.2 million in losses to Nebraska producers.

“Additionally, not all trade losses are factored into the loss estimates. Export losses of beef, hides and skins, ethanol, and other byproducts of Nebraska’s processing industries are not accounted for and these too will affect producers’ bottom lines,” said the report.

“Counting tariff losses for beef, ethanol, and other byproducts could easily push Nebraska farmers and ranchers’ collective losses from trade tariffs over the $1 billion mark,” said Rempe.

“We appreciate the administration’s ongoing support for America’s farm and ranch families through MFP assistance, but this analysis shows just how critical it is that we resolve the prolonged trade conflicts that have created the tariff pressures,” said Nebraska Farm Bureau president Steve Nelson.

“This analysis shows how important trade is for Nebraska farmers, ranchers, rural communities, and our state. It’s vital we eliminate trade barriers and secure trade deals that allow farmers and ranchers to work freely to capture, develop, and grow international markets. Congressional passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, securing a bi-lateral deal with Japan, and progress on the China front would be very good places to start,” said Nelson.

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