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Iowa Farm Bureau: ‘Stop the Trade War’

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  While the White House tries to downplay the trade war on Friday, the Iowa farm industry says the dangers cannot be overstated.

“This trade war places a very dark cloud over the state of Iowa in terms of our economic future,” said Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau.

The U.S. jabbed first with a tariff on aluminum and steel. China then countered with tariffs on pork, ethanol, and soy. On Friday, President Trump floated the idea of firing off another round of tariffs, this time to the tune of $100 billion.

“The progression of the events have been very disturbing. One announcement after another, one retaliatory action by either country one after another. The market has been impacted adversely, it's created great volatility and great stress amongst farmers,” said Hill.

In an industry that relies on predicting future prices, the Iowa Farm Bureau says the economic boxing match needs to stop before both countries hurt each other.

“This will cost the consumer both ways, this will cost the producer both ways.  As a farmer, I'm buying steel products, I'm buying aluminum products, solar panels, I'm buying washer machines as a consumer, and all those products are going to go up in cost as an input cost for my living or for my production. And as I sell things, they are going to be taxed as they go and leave the country,” said Hill.

Meanwhile, small businesses downstream of the main farm economy are also paying attention.

“It is worrisome, just because we don’t know the effects that it'll have on a widespread level,” said Bryant Abel.

Abel works at a family-owned farm supply store in Des Moines. He says while his business caters to smaller operations, it still could feel an impact.

“It might not happen right away, it might have short-term effects, but yeah, if people don’t have that cash flow and have that disposal money to pay for what they need, obviously with what we supply, we could see those effects here,” he said.

Abel says the effects he may feel would pale in comparison to those who supply the large operations in the state.