agriculture

The new trade deal with Canada and Mexico has been warmly welcomed by farmers, manufacturers and business groups across the country, but not always for the reasons President Trump anticipated.

While the president has touted improvements and changes as compared to North American Free Trade Agreement, many people are focusing on what didn't change and expressing relief that there's a deal at all.

Flickr.com

The new trade deal between the U.S., Mexico and Canada could change the prices on the next car you drive, the medicine you take, and the milk you drink. That dairy portion was a big sticking point in negotiating with Canada about their complex dairy tariff system, and the changes are drawing praise from Ohio’s dairy industry.

Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Columbus City Council approved an ordinance allowing the city to buy a 57-acre plot of land known as the "sheep farm" from The Ohio State University on Monday.

Mike Hayes and I are sitting on the patio of Blue Bank Resort, the business he owns on Reelfoot Lake, in Tennessee. The sun is going down. It's beautiful.

What really catches your eye here is the cypress trees. They line the lake, and thousands of them are standing right in the water. Hayes tells me that they are more than 200 years old.

During the early 1800s, wheat production made Ohio one of the leading grain-growing states in the U.S. As prairie land was settled and major wheat growing moved westward, the grain became less important to the state’s agricultural economy. Corn and soybeans became the staple of farming, and now wheat fields are few and far between in the Ohio countryside.

Nick Evans / WOSU

In the middle of a corn field, pathways with names like "beef," "swine" and "wool" stretch off into the distance, lined with tents hocking everything from new gadgets to heavy machinery. The Farm Science Review has a county fair type atmosphere, but it emphasizes education.

Farmers usually show up with questions about best practices for pesticides or to shop around for new equipment. But this year, talk of tariffs mixes with tractors.

Some of Ohio’s major exporting industries, including agriculture and automotive manufacturing, could suffer if the United States and Mexico make a trade deal without Canada.

The countries are reportedly in negotiations, trying to reach a deal on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, by Friday. However, earlier this week, President Trump said that if Canada won't sign on, the U.S. and Mexico will do their own bilateral deal.

 

The Department of Agriculture will pay $4.7 billion to farmers growing soybeans, cotton and other products hit by tariffs in the Trump administration's hard-line trade war with China, announcing the first batch of payments from a $12 billion government aid package.

Starting next Tuesday, the agency will take applications from farmers who produce corn, cotton, dairy, hogs, sorghum, soybeans and wheat — products that were targeted in China's retaliatory tariffs, after the U.S. imposed a 25 percent levy on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports.

The Ohio State University

Amid rising trade tensions between China and the Trump administration, Chinese officials met with Ohio business leaders in Columbus on Wednesday for a business and policy luncheon.

Extreme Weather and Climate Change

Aug 15, 2018
Daria Devyatkina / Flickr

Extreme weather is sweeping across the country. The wildfires in California are the most recent examples. The state is in the middle of a record-breaking fire season with three-active blazes. 

Along with fires, we are seeing extreme climate in the form of hurricanes and increased temperature. These are symptoms of climate change. 

Today on All Sides, we discuss what extreme weather means for the midwest and the rest of the country. 

Guests:

Kroger, Clifton Market and other grocery stores are taking a closer look at biodegradable packaging for fruits and vegetables, thanks in part to the efforts of farmers like Linda Fritz, who refuse to put their products in so-called plastic clam shells.

The American West appears to be moving east. New research shows the line on the map that divides the North American continent into arid Western regions and humid Eastern regions is shifting, with profound implications for American agriculture.

In western Oklahoma, farmers like Benji White and his wife, Lori, have become ranchers.

The View From Both Sides Of The Fence

Aug 9, 2018

When early settlers came to Ohio around two hundred years ago, they cleared the vast forests  - they wanted open land - to build houses,  to grow crops, and raise livestock.

As more people arrived, it became common practice to leave a narrow strip of uncultivated land between you and your neighbor. These natural fence rows were a way to designate property boundaries and help keep livestock from wandering away.

Ohio Farmers Brace For Escalating Trade War

Aug 9, 2018
tractor in farm field
Jean Beaufort / Public Domain Pictures

The trade war that's already squeezing Ohio farmers is ratcheting up another notch.

In response to the Trump administration announcing $16 billion in new tariffs against China on Tuesday, Chinese trade officials on Wednesday promised to retaliate with their own tariffs.

Each year, Dylan Jennings harvests wild rice from the lakes and rivers near his home in northern Wisconsin. He and a partner use a canoe, nosing carefully through rice beds and knocking rice kernels into the boat's hull using special sticks.

"It's a really long process," he says. "It starts with identifying the area where you are going to go ricing and knowing those areas in a very intimate way."

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