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The Trade War Comes to the Prairie

Posted February 21, 2017

Under Economic Issues, International Trade Issues


(Catherine Boudreau – Politico)

Doyle Lentz has grown barley, wheat, soybeans and canola for decades on his land in North Dakota, a farm that has been in the family for generations.

Just outside of Rolla, North Dakota, a town of about 1,300 people west of the Red River Valley, his rolling, fertile land might seem a world away from coastal ports, international business deals and the very idea of “globalism.” But when he sells his barley, it’s not a local proposition: About two-thirds of his crop is shipped some 2,000 miles to brewers in Mexico. The deal with his Mexican customers – he contracts with them directly, and has it malted in Minnesota along the way – is a chance to make a little more money from a commodity crop. That’s been especially important to his bottom line over the past few years, as world commodity prices have hit seven-year lows.

Heartland American farmers like Lentz are among globalism’s prime beneficiaries. Agriculture is North Dakota’s top industry, and it gets a significant boost from the $4 billion in farm goods, including wheat, soybeans, barley and sorghum, sent across borders every year. And they often travel much farther than Mexico: More than 90 percent of the state’s soybeans are exported, mainly to China. Click here to read more.