Jason Schmidt, a dairy farmer who lives outside of Newton, Kansas, considers himself a progressive farmer. He voted for President-elect Joe Biden last month. He wants the Biden administration to reward farmers based on how much carbon they are storing in the soil. He is a fifth-generation Kansas farmer.

By Bryan Lowry
The Wichita Eagle
Originally published on December 14, 2020

President Donald Trump carried Harvey County, in south central Kansas, by 20 points. That was no surprise to dairy farmer Jason Schmidt, who voted for President-elect Joe Biden.

“Being a progressive farmer, just about anywhere in the country you’re going to be in the minority,” said Schmidt, who lives just outside of Newton, the county seat.

While rural Kansas and Missouri overwhelmingly favored Trump in 2016 and 2020, farmers see an opportunity with the incoming Biden administration: a rational trade policy.

Trump waged costly trade wars with China and Mexico that decimated their profits for much of his presidency. Kansas saw 36 Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies in 2019, the fourth most of any state, according to the American Farm Bureau. The 595 farm bankruptcies nationwide in 2019 marked an eight-year high.

“Interestingly, when I was talking with some of my relatives who are on the other side of the political spectrum they admitted to me that Trump didn’t know what he was doing in the trade war,” said Schmidt, a member of the Kansas Farmers Union.

Trump’s administration offered multiple multi-billion dollar bailouts to farmers to make up for the lost revenue, an initiative that helped him maintain his popularity in farm country.

But even as new trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada took effect during the final year of Trump’s presidency and ended the battle of retaliatory tariffs, many farms are still recovering. In 2020, government subsidies are projected to account for as much of 40% of total farm income, a record $46 billion nationwide.

It’s not a business model that farmers or lawmakers think is sustainable.

Read the full article Kansas farmers went for Trump, but Biden spurs hope for increased trade at The Wichita Eagle

Jason Schmidt, a dairy farmer who lives outside of Newton, Kansas, considers himself a progressive farmer. He wants the Biden administration to reward farmers based on how much carbon they are storing in the soil.

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