Iowa farmers worried about impact tariffs will have on their businesses
TIFFIN, Iowa, CBS2/FOX28 —
President Donald Trump signed off on two proclamations Thursday afternoon that will impose a 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminum.
All six members of Iowa's congressional delegation asked the President to reconsider the tariffs. They argued new tariffs would greatly impact places with strong agricultural industries—like Iowa.
"You can't really run a farm nowadays without something made out of steel. So we feel the effects very vigorously when something like this comes along,” said Steve Swenka, a farmer in Tiffin, Iowa.
Steve Swenka heard about the tariffs, but like many in Iowa didn't want to think about their repercussions.
"Any business, especially agriculture-related businesses who are producing agricultural products—tractors, combines any products like that—that have steel, will find that their costs are going up,” explained John Fletcher, an economics instructor at Kirkwood Community College.
Fletcher says the 25% tariff on steel will do a lot of damage for any industry relying on steel, which plays a big role for farmers.
"We have steel on the roof. We have a steel grain bin. Naturally our tractors, equipment, implements—they're all made out of steel,” said Swenka.
Even more than the prices of equipment increasing, Swenka says farmers like him are concerned about what these tariffs do to the global side of their business.
"What we worry about is retaliatory action that might trickle down to us from some of the countries that are affected by the tariffs on steel,” said Swenka.
Some of his produce is sent overseas. He worries those countries won't be excluded from the tariffs and—as a result—do less business with farmers in the states.
"You start losing those markets and that's a lot of product stuck on the market that will naturally and adversely affect the prices that we get here on the farm,” explained Swenka.
One of Swenka's biggest concerns was that Canada would be affected by the tariffs. That's where a good portion of his grain is exported. President trump did exempt Canada and Mexico from these tariffs for now.
The policy is expected to take effect in 15 days.