Farmers in the Midwest are committing suicide at the highest rate in decades, and some analysts blame the Trump administration’s policies — including tariffs that have resulted in crops sitting in storage containers and not being sold — as part of the cause.
As HuffPost reports, a recent study showed that suicide is on the rise in the United States, and the problem is most pronounced in rural areas. There are several reasons why rural areas are more affected by suicide than urban, such as social fragmentation (being disconnected from supportive family and social communities) and unemployment or under-employment.
However, in some cases, the increase in suicides can be tied to farmers, squeezed financially by Trump administration policies. Grain, once earmarked for sale to China, is now just sitting on their property unsold. Farm-industry representatives say those markets may never come back again, which is concerning to hear for those whose livelihoods depend on those Chinese contracts.
Patty Edelburg, vice president of the National Farmers Union, said that recent financial stresses are causing a strain on farmers’ mental health.
“We’ve had a lot more bankruptcies going on, a lot more farmer suicides.”
Minnesota soybean farmer Bill Gordon said as much. Thanks to Trump administration policies, farmers’ income is drying up, banks are reluctant to extend credit, and their farms are being foreclosed upon. Some have turned to suicide, he says.