DONAHUE, Iowa -
Some 2,400 hogs are caught in the middle at Cinnamon Ridge Farms. They are pawns in Chinese action that puts a 25% tariff on American pork exports.
"Everybody should be squealing," said longtime farmer John Maxwell. "This is just not really a good idea."
Maxwell says that the tariffs will hurt more than just the activity at his Donahue, Iowa, farm.
"Rural America is being affected because of the things that are going on in Washington, D.C.," he continued.
Those things include new U.S. tariffs against China on steel and aluminum. Economic decisions that are triggering Chinese retaliation.
"All we are doing is hurting ourselves," Maxwell said. "This is just a darn shame as to what's going on."
Before his hogs are ready for market, he says it's important for officials to sit down for good trade talks.
"Why we're stubbing our toe on this silly issue is beyond me," he said.
Just last year, U.S. pork producers exported some $1.1 billion in pork to China. It's their third largest market.
Without a reversal, though, it means less money and fewer jobs on his farms.
"Tit-for-tat never wins," Maxwell said.
And when it comes to tariffs, he says there are a lot of losers.
"The consumer doesn't win," he concluded. "The farmer doesn't win. The person with an agriculture job doesn't win."
Global gamesmanship pitting China against the U.S. while hitting farmers right in the wallet.