Nebraska farmers concerned about potential tariffs

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

Channel 8 KLKN-TV visited Firth this afternoon and met with a local farmer who said he is concerned that potential tariffs from international countries will have a negative impact on his, and other Nebraska farmers’, livelihoods.

Meet Nathan Dorn. He’s lived in Nebraska his entire life and has a long family history of farming, specifically cattle and grain.

Right now, he’s concerned about a potential economic downturn.

Several weeks ago President Trump announced tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. While no countries have said they’ll implement retailitory tariffs, the thought that they might has farmers rattled. "We’re really just hopeful right now that this just doesn’t happen. We’re hoping that everyone comes to their senses and people realize that trade wars aren’t easy wars to win. Nobody wants to fight a trade war, especially here in rural Nebraska, said Nathan Dorn owner of Dorn Farms."

Agriculture is a huge part of Nebraska’s economy. In 2016, Nebraska exported 6.6 *billion* dollars of agricultural goods.

Topping that list? Soybeans, corn and beef.

Dorn says any tariffs from outside powers will not help everyday Americans. "If we lose even a fraction of that it’s really going to affect main street Nebraska. It’s going to affect daycare centers; it’s going to affect hospitals and healthcare workers."

The Nebraska Farm Bureau has similar concerns. Jay Rempe is the senior economist for NFB.

He says if tariffs were put in place, Nebraska would be poorly off. "I think that Nebraska might be a little worse off just because two commodities, beef and soybeans, that are big export products for the state of Nebraska, seem to be caught in the middle of some of this tariff talk and retaliatory measures that’ll be discussed," said Rempe. Again, no foreign countries have announced tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods, but farmers across Nebraska are having the conversation so they can try and plan accordingly.

However, as you heard Nathan Dorn say, they are hopeful that there will be no tariffs on their product.