Trouble in agriculture

Some of Donald Trump’s strongest support comes from America’s rural areas. His trade war with China may undermine that backing, at least in the Midwest. Even with $6 billion in aid given to help farmers deal with the consequences of higher tariffs, the rate of Midwestern farm bankruptcies is rising steeply because of falling revenues from corn, soybeans, milk and other products.

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, from July 2017 through June 2018, 84 farms declared bankruptcy in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Montana, and North and South Dakota. That’s more than double the 2013-2014 numbers.

Prospects don’t look good either. Some farm exports increased after the tariffs began, in the race to beat the implementation of China’s retaliatory tariffs. But then many declined drastically. Federal Reserve analyst Ron Wirtz told the Associated Press that given continuing price drops, “The trajectory of the current trends suggest that this trend has not yet seen a peak.”

Many farmers were producing beyond demand before the trade war with China. So, Trump’s tariffs aggravated an already looming problem. High yields helped farmers weather the low grain prices of the past three years. But high yields can’t compensate for markets shrunken by tariffs.

When Trump offered billions in relief to help farmers bear the burden of his trade war, farmers said that they didn’t want aid. They just wanted to produce and sell their products. Trump has made that much more difficult. He’s definitely not making their part of America “great again.”

Donah Gehlert, Cuyahoga Falls

 

Better energy ideas

The Jan. 28 editorial ‘‘Credit nuclear for clean power’’ points to zero-emission credits in other states like Illinois. Those credits, however, were part of a package deal that included substantial clean energy economic-development initiatives. FirstEnergy has stubbornly refused to consider compromising or incorporating forward-looking elements, like solar job training, into its nuclear proposal.

The recent “Powering Ohio” report from business and civic leaders outlines steps that the state can take to advance clean energy, which would attract billions in investment and create tens of thousands of good jobs. We should be considering modern ideas like these, rather than saddling Ohioans with a bailout for which they must pay.

Dick Munson,

Director, Midwest Clean Energy, Environmental Defense Fund, Chicago

 

Show March for Life

I appreciated the Beacon Journal’s short article by the Associated Press about the March for Life, held in Washington, D.C. (“Thousands attend anti-abortion march,” Jan. 19).

The March for Life included 200,000-300,000 prayerful, peaceful marchers, including many area residents. Ohio.com featured march photos. Why didn’t the Beacon Journal print a crowd photo?

The Beacon Journal then featured a lengthy AP article with a crowd photo (“A scaled-down, but still angry, Women’s March returns,” Jan. 20). Planned Parenthood Action Fund sponsors the Women’s March and supports abortion access.

The March for Life draws incredible crowds and pro-lifers march in numerous U.S. cities, throughout Europe and in Asia, Africa, South America and Australia.

Please report the March for Life more fairly.

Patrick Kunklier, Fairlawn

 

City duties not new

The city of Akron keeps blaming having to take care of the expressways for its failed attempt to remove snow properly. That’s a bunch of hooey.

The city has been plowing the expressway for many years. It’s not like it is something new. Other mayors didn’t have a problem. It seems like not enough staffing and equipment are to blame.

John P. Green, Akron