From soybeans to wheat, to ranching, and many others; it’s safe to say that North Dakota is a commodity state and farmers are the backbone. However, 2020 has been a tough year for our farmers for a variety of reasons. So, how does that translate to the 2020 Presidential Election?
We know that the majority of farmers are conservative, but a recent survey finds that the level of support for the Trump Administration is waning among them.
A survey of more than 500 farmers by the national magazine DTN Progressive Farmer asked how they would vote if the election was held now. 71% said they would likely vote for President Trump. That’s down from 89% in April.
Ryder wheat and soybean farmer Tyler Stafslien is one of those farmers that is dissatisfied with the Trump Administration.
“We’ve got an ongoing impactful harmful trade war and you look at the numbers across the country and farmers don’t have the money that had four years ago. You can look at statistics that show bankruptcies across the county are at record levels if not record levels,” said Stafslien.
Soybeans are the commodity that has been most harmed by Trump’s trade war with China. 50% of Stafslein’s acreage is soybeans.
“I would say that I saw an immediate two dollar per bushel impact on soybeans, and if you equate that to a 30 bushel per yield in this part of North Dakota, that’s $60 dollars an acre which is obviously impactful to my bottom line,” explained Stafslien.
On the other hand, Richardton wheat, corn, and sunflower farmer Neal Messer is pro-Trump. Messer says the trade war with China is ultimately a good thing, and it’s a long term plan to force China to establish fair and sustainable commodity prices.
“If I was raising soybeans I’d be frustrated, but the bottom line is the Trump administration took actions through some of the marketing assistance programs to try to narrow that gap,” said Messer.
Messer says most of the farmers he knows support Trump. He says one of the main reasons is because Trump has lowered taxes.
“It allows businesses and and agribusinesses to keep more of their money. And, especially on the farm side almost doubling of the estate tax exemption which allows farmers to pass on their farm from generation to generation,” explained Messer.
Messer also points to deregulation as a selling point for many farmers.
“You talk about government overreach. When we talk about wetlands. When we talk about EPA. When we talk about fertilizer and chemicals and other products we use on the farm, those regulations have been drastically reduced making it much easier for us to use those products,” said Messer.
Regardless of the good that Trump has done for farmers, the national survey finds that there is growing dissatisfaction among farmers.
“Unless the administration is going to completely reverse what they’re doing, which I don’t see any sign of, I think we do have to look at some type of change,” explained Stafslein.
The change in support also showed up in questions regarding the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here is a link to the survey results from DTN Progressive Farmer.