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Trump’s Trade Pullout Roils Rural America

(Adam Behsudi – Politico)

On a cloud-swept landscape dotted with grain elevators, a meat producer called Prestage Farms is building a 700,000-square-foot processing plant. The gleaming new factory is both the great hope of Wright County, which voted by a 2-1 margin for Donald Trump, and the victim of one of Trump’s first policy moves, his decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

For much of industrial America, the TPP was a suspect deal, the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which some argue led to a massive offshoring of U.S. jobs to Mexico. But for the already struggling agricultural sector, the sprawling 12-nation TPP, covering 40 percent of the world’s economy, was a lifeline. It was a chance to erase punishing tariffs that restricted the United States—the onetime “breadbasket of the world”—from selling its meats, grains and dairy products to massive importers of foodstuffs such as Japan and Vietnam. […]

The supply chain from field, to feed, to animal has created a massive livestock industry that doesn’t always find demand among American consumers. The dimming of any new trade opportunities or the disruption of existing ones creates a ripple effect not only vertically along the direct farm value chain but horizontally into the economic welfare of the surrounding community. Click here to read more.