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Whirlwind or Reward, Candidate’s Trade Stance Important for FarmersLock Icon

2 min read

Arkansas Business reported last week on what investment professionals thought the presidential election could mean for the markets, so Whispers thought to ask a farmer the same question.

Derek Haigwood farms 9,000 acres of mostly corn, soybean and rice on his fourth-generation family farm in Newport. He is also the director of the United Soybean Board, so he has a global bird’s eye view of the farming industry.

He didn’t mind being asked about politics — “not in any way would I avoid that,” he said — and said it was an interesting question. Many farmers have retired or filed for bankruptcy in the wake of the tariff trade war instigated by President Donald Trump, but Haigwood said that isn’t necessarily weighing against him.

“Without being Republican or Democrat or political, I know what I’ve got with Trump,” Haigwood said. “He wants us to have equal trade with the largest buyer in the world, which is China, bar none. No one else is anywhere close. If that is something he will stand up and fight for then you will see farmers come out and vote for him.”

Haigwood said he hasn’t heard anything at all about Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s trade stances, so he doesn’t know what a Biden presidency would mean. The two countries recently signed a trade agreement in which China agreed to purchase $36.5 billion of agricultural products this year.

Haigwood said any farmer who survived the two-year trade war will benefit from the new deal. He doesn’t know if the same kind of agreements would have happened without a trade war.

“In my perfect world, you sit down and work out a deal, which is what we do every day whether we are buying equipment or selling soybeans,” Haigwood said. “I can truly only speak as a farmer. It could have been a much slower process, which may not have been a good thing, but slower and less painful. It has been very painful the last two years; very painful.”

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