The bad farm economy, combined with Trump’s trade war, is pushing more and more farmers toward suicide.
In farm country, mental health experts say they’re seeing more suicides as families endure the worst period for U.S. agriculture in decades. Farm bankruptcies and loan delinquencies are rising, calamitous weather events are ruining crops, and profits are vanishing during Trump’s global trade disputes.
A 2017 study found that farm owners and workers were three to five times as likely to kill themselves on the job compared with other occupations. Researchers studying more recent data have not yet determined if farmer suicides are increasing, but leaders and social workers in rural America say that, anecdotally, they’re seeing more of these deaths. Calls to suicide hotlines around farm country have risen, prompting new federal and state programs targeting farmers’ mental health, including support groups, public awareness campaigns and funding for counseling.
Farmers are going through their worst stretch in decades, and Trump’s trade war is a big reason why. The socialistic bribes that the Trump administration is paying out to farmers aren’t arriving fast enough to help farms stay afloat.
The farm suicide crisis is a reminder that policy decisions have real-world life and death consequences. The trade war isn’t worth the life of a single American farmer. These are people, not pawns, or numbers on a spreadsheet.
The 2020 election is a matter of life and death on many issues, but one of the most damning indictments of the current administration is that Trump promised to help farmers prosper. Instead, he is pushing them toward suicide.
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Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association