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CoastLine: Trade War, Nuisance Lawsuits, Rain Pummel NC Farmers

Bob Nichols / Photo courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
USDA District Conservationist with tobacco farmer in North Carolina

North Carolina agriculture is facing a host of challenges. The Trump Administration has levied tariffs against many countries, more notably China, Mexico, the European Union, and Canada.  According to White House officials, the tariffs will force trading partners into adopting fairer practices.  But farmers, manufacturers, and beyond in the U.S. are grappling with retaliatory tariffs. China alone has slapped tariffs on hundreds of U.S. goods.  Economists say this will decrease agricultural exports – a key component of North Carolina’s economy. 

State agriculture is also bracing for impacts from nuisance lawsuits over hog farming practices.  Juries decided three recent cases in favor of plaintiffs – handing the world’s largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, penalties in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars.  Both Pender and Brunswick Counties have adopted resolutions to support local farmers and the North Carolina Farming Act of 2018. Congressman David Rouzer, a Republican from North Carolina’s 7th District, which includes the Cape Fear region, recently held a Farming Roundtable Discussion to denounce the lawsuits.  And he, along with U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, also a Republican from North Carolina, has suggested federal legislation to combat such suits. 

With us to explore impact of these factors, and all the rain:   

Thomas Grennes is Professor Emeritus of Economics and Agricultural Resource Economics at NC State University, and he joined us via Skype.

Mark Blevins is NC State's County Extension Director for Brunswick County and Interim County Extension Director for New Hanover

Mark Seitz is Director of NC State Cooperative Extension for Pender County

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.
Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR