Let’s talk... about farmers: Trump’s Trade War and a looming mental health crisis

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Dakoda J. Herman

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Donald Trump’s aggressive stance on trade has led to heavy tariffs on US agricultural products. This has exposed American farmers to a high amount of volatility and work stress. Suicides in America have drastically increased since the late 1990’s, and agriculture has been one of the hardest-hit industries with suicide rates far above the national average. The added stress of Trump’s trade war has the potential to exacerbate the growing rates of depression and suicide among farmers and agricultural workers. The Trump administration’s attempt to ease the strain on farmers with simple monetary compensation has been heavily criticized for its short-sighted nature, and pundits highlight the need for a long-term solution. However, this issue is not limited to the United States and has been observed in several countries around the world, and none have yet identified an effective resolution. A greater response is needed by federal governments to aid farmers and stabilize agricultural markets, as national advocacy groups struggle to provide essential resources to those in need and improve the rates of suicide and depression among farmers.