OGDEN, Utah (News4Utah) – A new trade deal with Canada and Mexico is giving Utah farmers and ranchers hope. Yet tariffs still in place with China and Europe are keeping commodity prices low. Utah Farm Bureau President Ron Gibson said he hopes more trade deals will come soon, but worries some won’t make it.
Gibson notes trade has been a tough issues for decades. He was happy to see President Donald Trump take the issue up, but said the tariffs are still hurting. He hopes they will force other countries to play ball.
“Our hit has been real, it’s been deep, it hurts,” said Gibson. “It’s going to take some time for us to get our of that hole, but we’re optimistic we’re going to be able to climb out of the hole, and we’re going to be in a better position at the end of the day.”
Farmers and ranchers in Utah were excited to see the recent trade deal with Canada and Mexico. Utah is the 3rd largest state exporter of agriculture products to Mexico. Gibson is especially happy as a dairyman because the deal makes new rules for dairy going in and out of Canada.
“It’s stops Canada from dumping cheap powered milk onto our market, that’s subsidized by their government,” said Gibson.
While he’s hoping more trade deals will be hammered out soon, he’s worried some farms around the country won’t make it. After a recent trip to Washington D.C. with other state’s farm bureau presidents he notes many are feeling the impacts.
“I’ll tell you right now agriculture is in real trouble,” said Gibson.
The problem isn’t just the products that have tariffs, but the impacts it has on other commodities and their prices. For instance, pork in Utah has high tariffs, which forces down the market price per pound.
“When pork prices drop it’s going to bring the price of beef down, it’s going to bring the price of chicken and turkey,” said Gibson. “It’s going to hurt all of our protein industry.”
China also buys two thirds of the America’s exported soy beans which saw heavy tariffs. That also impacts corn and wheat prices because it’s anticipated farms will grow more of those products in the future.
Gibson also notes the aid package meant to help farmers hit by the trade war only makes up a small fraction of what’s been lost so far. The other issue is while trade deals take time to be implemented, the impacts on commodity prices from tariffs is instant.
Farmers and Ranchers are hoping prices will start rising soon so they can get more for their products.