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🎙️New episode of Heartland Mainland: the Iowa China Podcast!🎙️

For the past yr, @JianingHollyHe & I have been talking w/ Rick Kimberley: Iowa farmer ➡️ ag celebrity in China ➡️ collateral damage in the trade war.
Here's what we learned. /thread
@JianingHollyHe We spoke w/ a soybean industry rep who told us they first set up a Beijing office in 1982, betting that Reform + Opening would mean greater demand for animal feed & soybeans.

That big bet on Chinese markets didn't start paying off for 2 decades, until China entered WTO in 2001.
@JianingHollyHe Iowa soybean exports took off, peaking at over $3.5 billion in 2012. That same year Xi Jinping paid a visit to an Iowa farm owned by Rick Kimberley.

Rick is the 5th generation in his family to farm this piece of land, and he was a bit overwhelmed by the fallout from the visit...
@JianingHollyHe Since XJP stopped by his farm Rick has...
- become an agricultural celebrity in China
- made 20+ trips to China and given talks in 60+ cities
- had thousands of Chinese tourists come visit his farm
- founded a "Friendship Farm" in Hebei w/ a model Iowa town built for tourists.
@JianingHollyHe But the start of the trade war in 2018 threw cold water on that happy-go-lucky story. Rick saw an immediate 20-25% hit to his income from Chinese tariffs.

Farmers told us they agreed you needed to be tough on China+trade, but this approach has "blown up the farm economy."
@JianingHollyHe Worse than hit to incomes is fear that after spending 35 yrs building up Chinese soybean markets, could permanently lose them to Brazil.

Rep from soybean industry association told us, "Farming is not like owning a cupcake shop."

👇 pic is from lobby of Iowa Soybean Association.
@JianingHollyHe Despite hits to income + future biz, trade war was not most angered Iowa farmers w/ @realDonaldTrump.

Instead, it was ethanol. Trump's EPA's been giving out waivers exempting oil refineries from putting ethanol in gas.

Corn industry rep said these have "enraged our farmers."
@JianingHollyHe @realDonaldTrump After 18 months, trade war saw first deescalation last wk w/ signing of phase 1 trade deal. China promised to buy an extra $32B of US farm goods in next 2 yrs.

Trump had teased idea of signing the deal in Iowa. In the end, it was inked in the White House.
@JianingHollyHe @realDonaldTrump Hours after phase 1 deal we spoke w/ Rick Kimberley. He told us:
1. It's a good start.
2. Iowa farmers won't see real relief until this fall.
3. Sth should've been done about China trade years ago.

For deep dive into China+Iowa+agriculture, listen here: macropolo.org/multimedia/pod…
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