Christopher Gribbs, a soybean farmer from Ohio whose family owns and operates 560 acres of land, on Thursday told CNBC, a popular US media platform, that he won’t be voting for President Donald Trump again in the upcoming 2020 United States election.
The Ohio farmer reportedly voted for Trump in the 2016 election along with more than 75% of rural voters in the country’s farm belt.
Now Gribbs is pushing back against Trump’s trade policies and the retaliatory effects on American agriculture.
“I couldn’t vote for him. I have to protect my business.”
“I was a Trump voter. I voted for the president.”
“It certainly frustrates me. … He’s lost on trade in three different ways,” Gribbs said when speaking about how the president has disappointed him on trade deals.
Farmers are one of the biggest victims of the U.S.-China trade war. With China officially pulling out of purchasing U.S. agricultural goods, American farmers are losing their fifth-largest customer.
The United States had $9.2 billion in agricultural exports to China last year, according to the Department of Agriculture.
Gribbs told CNBC in 2018 that his soybean prices dropped by 20% due to the trade war. Last year, his soybeans sold for a local cash price of $10.50 per bushel. Now, his soybeans are selling at $9, right at the cost of production.
“We’ve lost our biggest export market and that was China. And that’s weighing on prices,” the farmer said.
“The geopolitical problems that we have with the Trump tariffs have weighed on market confidence and the market just can’t move.”
Despite the fiscal damage the trade dispute has caused, many farmers appear to still support Trump. According to a recent survey from The Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture, 78% of farmers said in July that they believe the trade war will ultimately benefit U.S. agriculture.
In response to the survey, Gribbs said, “No, certainly I wouldn’t agree with it.”
Trump tweeted last week that he would impose 10% tariffs on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods. This prompted China to retaliate by halting U.S. agricultural imports, intensifying the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies.
“We need to get rid of this political turmoil that we have. The uncertainty and that’s what’s holding the markets down now,” Gribbs said.