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In Texas and Iowa, pig farmers continue to support Trump despite Mexican tariffs (in PHOTOS)

Although they recognize that the effects of the "commercial war" are only just beginning, farmers trust that they will overcome the crisis with their faith Trump intact.
23 Ago 2018 – 07:16 PM EDT
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In Radcliffe, Iowa, a mural just north of the farmers' cooperative shows a man and woman in front of an idyllic farm. The current reality is that some of these small cities are fading away. Crédito: Sergio Flores
2/14
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Many rural areas had hope in Donald Trump when he ran for president. He focused his campaign on the common, working man, although he comes the coastal, urban elite. After Trump imposed tariffs on countries which he says do not trade fairly with the US, they began to worry about the ensuing commercial repercussions. Crédito: Sergio Flores
3/14
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Mexico, the largest importer of US pork, announced that it will impose a 20% tariff, mostly hitting producers in Iowa. Many commentators said the trade war would hurt Republican support for Trump in the state. But it doesn't look that way, so far. Crédito: Sergio Flores
4/14
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Many producers have opted for pragmatism. Todd Wiley, for example, raises pigs just outside of Walker, Iowa. He feels that Trump is shaking things up and, while acknowledging that it may be unconventional, he believes there is "a method within his madness." Taking into account the personal success of the president as an entrepreneur, he assured that he would never give up supporting him, although his policies could potentially damage his business. Crédito: Sergio Flores
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To try to compensate the sector, Trump announced at the end of July $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by the new tariffs. The idea has been condemned practically by all involved, including the farmers themselves. Crédito: Sergio Flores
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Wiley says he is not interested in aid and says he expects problems to be resolved long before he can no longer make a profit. These agricultural entrepreneurs will lose money if they cannot sell what they produce and if they do not earn enough they will not be able to pay their employees. Crédito: Sergio Flores
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Leon Sheets is another farmer who appears not to be upset by the circumstances. He gave the impression that he does not have time to worry now and that he will wait until things get really bad. Sheets was named Pig Farmer of the Year in 2017, a title that reflects his commitment to educate the public and be a spokesperson for other pig producers. Crédito: Sergio Flores
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Sheets has been a farmer for most of his life and says he has seen other shocks in the market. He says that he rarely, if ever, had any reason to be alarmed and Mexico's new tariffs are no exception. Like his colleague Wiley, he is not interested in receiving aid or social assistance. Crédito: Sergio Flores
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Willey recalled his experience with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the 1990s. Like his colleague Todd Wiley, he thinks that trade agreements needed to be shaken up. For the moment he says he is willing to go along with what he describes as the common good. Nobody yet knows the real consequences of the commercial war and Wiley explains it by saying: "It will be a competition to see who blinks first". Crédito: Sergio Flores
10/14
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Further south, in Texas, producers say they have less reason to worry than their colleagues in Iowa. Producer Chuck Real says they have seen little or no effect from the new Mexican tariffs. In fact, with the reduction of prices on crops, the result of other retaliation rates, Real has benefited by paying less for food for his pigs. Real, like Wiley and Sheets, believes that the president did well to shake things up to try to achieve a fairer deal for the US. And like his colleagues, he says he will continue to support him despite these uncertain times. Crédito: Sergio Flores
11/14
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Real receives on his farm one of the private pig buyers, Wayne sanders, who visited him with his family. At the meeting, Real explained how 30 years ago pig farmers were in central and southern Texas but urban development, which limited production lands, made it difficult to maintain large operations. Farmers like Real had to adapt to not close their businesses. Crédito: Sergio Flores
12/14
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The pork on sale at Salt and Time, a butcher shop in Austin, Texas. Ben Runkle, one of its owners, does not agree with President Trump's tariff policy, although he has not yet been affected as a private purchaser of pork. The butcher shop is supplied directly from farms that raise high quality pigs. Runkle assures that the idea that trade agreements needed a shake is wrong and added that the reason why people think that treaties are unfair is because they do not see the benefits, because they go to the better off. Crédito: Sergio Flores
13/14
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Runkle believes that the majority of pork buyers will not be affected by the new measures, unless things become very drastic and producers must sell at much lower prices. He says he does not support the president and thinks the tariff war will hurt Americans more than others. The $12 billion dollars aid proposed by Trump are for Runkle a poor attempt to protect his base. Crédito: Sergio Flores
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Many producers do not want help, and politicians in Washington question it. However, until now it seems that they have not abandoned it. They still have faith, they believe in their audacity and their success as a businessman. Maybe they would change their minds if the tariff war would lead them to lose their means of subsistence, but for now they are going to weather this storm, as they say they did with others before. Crédito: Sergio Flores
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