Talkin' trade war at the Minnesota State Fair

Aug 29, 2018

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."