I am a third-generation farmer and rancher in Montana. My family has a long history of working the land and raising cattle. I understand full well the negative impact low commodity prices have on agriculture and the communities that rely on agriculture to survive. The ag economy of the United States is in increasing trouble, and one only needs to see the following stats to understand this.
FDIC reports that U.S. farm real estate loan delinquencies for Q3 in 2018 are the highest rate of delinquencies on all bank loans for the first time in approximately 20 years!
Kansas City Fed reports a 30 percent increase in U.S. farmers seeking operating loans of $1,000,000.00 or more in Q3 of 2018, which is sharply higher than in Q3 of 2017!
The trade war with China is directly hurting Montana farmers and ranchers along with their counterparts nationwide. It has been proven over and over that once a buyer (China) finds a new supplier (Brazil, Argentina, EU) of commodities the old supplier (United States) will rarely, if ever, regain that market let alone get back its original market share.
The proof of this is Japan. The United States is still today exporting less beef to Japan than it did prior to 2001 following the BSE debacle. As a result, Japan diversified its originators of beef and found new determination to keep their local cattle producers strong. A long-term consequence of this trade war is China actively seeking ways to stop buying American soybeans all together because they no longer find America to be a reliable supplier. Everyone in agriculture knows that grains — whether wheat, barley, corn or soybeans — are all price-interconnected. So goes the price of soybeans goes the price of wheat and barley and corn — which in this case is down!
Farmers don’t want welfare checks due to some politician’s trade war. Farmers and ranchers only want access to the customers and markets that they have worked so hard to build. These relationships take years if not decades to develop but can be destroyed so quickly as is evidenced by these trade wars. Over the years, many people, organizations and politicians including Jon Tester have worked painstakingly to get Montana farmers and ranchers access to these markets.
Montana does not need a rubber stamp senator that will march lock-step with the president. Montana needs a senator that will work with a president when it will benefit Montanans but will stand up for Montana always. Montanans have a long tradition of being independent and deciding for ourselves what’s right and opposing what is wrong. Jon Tester is exactly this type of man. He works with both sides of the aisle finding positive solutions. Jon understands Montana; he understands farming and ranching, and he knows personally that trade wars are bad for Montana and our nation.
Please join me in voting for Jon Tester to continue as Senator for our great state of Montana!