On the first day of the Minnesota State Fair, hog farmer Wanda Patsche is volunteering at the swine barn exhibit, where a visitor can pet piglets, see different varieties of hogs like the Chester White, and pick up a free paper headband with pig ears.
One of the things on Patsche’s mind as she talks to fairgoers: the economic plight of farmers.
"Being a hog farmer right now, it's hard,” she says. “It's really hard."
Patsche raises more than 4,000 pigs a year in Welcome, Minnesota. Retaliatory tariffs Mexico and China have placed on U.S. pork products are hurting farmers like her who depend heavily on export markets. She’s getting less than $100 a pig today. That covers the cost of the piglet and the grain needed to help it reach market size, but little else.
"We're probably losing $30 to $40 a head. We've got to get the tariff situation figured out for our country," she says. “We can go a little while but if it's extended, we're going to see farmers going out of business."