When Ohio State researchers first proposed a study on the impacts of tariffs on food, water and energy in the Heartland, they didn’t anticipate how relevant that research would become.
Three colleges at Ohio State ended up winning a three-year, $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation, and will focus their work on building models that show the effects of trade wars on Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana.
“How could the tariffs that have been imposed by China on some of the U.S. agricultural exports impact farmers in the Midwest as well as food production and energy use over the long run?” asks researcher Elena Irwin.
Irwin says the research is based in trying to examine risks that come along with ever-changing global trade markets.
“To the extent that these policies are creating uncertainty, they’re creating even more risk for farmers who are already in a risky business,” she says.
The uncertainty around trade could have long term consequences on the agricultural economy in the United States, she says.
“With increased uncertainty and risk, farmers are more likely to pull out of farming,” she says. “We may actually see younger farmers starting to pursue other careers as opposed to continuing in farming.”
The team will include researchers from the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; the College of Engineering; and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.