Whole milk powder (WMP) prices are now sitting above pre-Covid-19 levels and New Zealand farmers can thank a resurging Chinese economy for that.
The first victims of the trade spat between the US and China were farmers, as China retaliated to US tariffs with tariffs on US commodities. President Trump has promised handouts to soften the losses by US farmers, but it won’t be enough. Farmers (and their suppliers) are hurting.
Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union, said “Words and Twitters and tweets don’t pay farmers’ bills. That doesn’t solve the problem. This one’s self inflicted by our President, and though we definitely agreed with him at the beginning, it doesn’t appear there’s a plan B.”
And Lindsay Greiner, president of the Iowa Soybean Association, said “Short term, stair stepped subsidies are a poor remedy for trade. They stimulate production but not sales and so do little to undo the long term log jam.”
Meanwhile, China is not starving, it is simply buying more grain from Brazil and Argentina.