Local farmers say tariffs mixed with drought are hurting bottom line

North Texas farmers say tariffs are hitting at the worst possible time.

Escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China have hit farmers especially hard.

The Trump administration is working on a taxpayer-funded bailout. But with a drought in North Texas, farmers are calling it nothing more than a Band-Aid.

The bailout package announced this week is something many local farmers will readily accept. But one farmer said he would rather not take the handout and instead wants to be able to farm freely.

At Calvert Farms in Ellis County, work is underway for the upcoming corn harvest.

For farmer Lee Calvert, picking corn will begin under the worst of circumstances.

“It’s kind of a perfect storm for a bad situation for a lot of farmers,” he said.

Calvert says amidst a years- long decline in corn prices, decisions made in Washington are dropping prices further.

“That, combined with the additional drop in price after the tariffs, it's really bad timing for a trade war right now,” he said.

It’s bad timing made worse because North Texas is also in a drought.

Touring Iowa on Thursday, President Donald Trump tried to calm fears from farmers across the country feeling the impact of tariffs. He angled that the tariffs will help level the playing field globally.

“When you have a country that's charging you fifty percent tariffs, and we charge them nothing, and then I raise it to fifty percent, and then we have politicians in Washington say we are stopping free trade. Bo, no.  They stopped it when they put on the fifty percent,” the president said.

In the meantime, the Department of Agriculture plans to roll out a $12 billion aid package to help farmers who have been hurt due to tariffs.

Calvert has supported the president. He says he's still hopeful in the long run tariffs will be a wise move and open up new markets for them. He just doesn't know if some small local farmers will make it through.

“A lot of us aren't, unfortunately. I hope I do,” Calvert said. “We'll know at the end of the year when I go talk to my banker.”

This week, the American Soybean Association put out a statement saying that the bailout provides only short-term assistance for farmers. It called for a longer term strategy to fix the issue, including removing "harmful" tariffs.