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Farms are suffering from climate change and Trump’s trade war. Here’s how to help.

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21.05.2019

Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in Northwest Iowa and author of “Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper.”

STORM LAKE, Iowa

President Trump’s trade war with China is doing plenty of damage to farmers in this region, but it is also shining a harsh light on an agriculture industry that has been heading for a reckoning since the early 1970s.

President Richard M. Nixon’s detente with China started U.S. farmers on the path to becoming Beijing’s agribusiness partners, ripping up the countryside and radically expanding pork operations to feed millions on the other side of the world.

Nearly half a century later, the results are plain to see. Iowa has about half the farmers it once did, with smaller producers squeezed out by the behemoths. The soil is eroding at alarming rates. Fertilizer pours into waterways, eventually draining into the Gulf of Mexico, creating a dead zone of oxygen deprivation the size of New Jersey. Rural areas are depopulating.

For decades, the markets have been telling us that we’re growing too much corn and soybeans, but we wouldn’t listen. The........

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