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2019-06-22 13:08:23澎湃
美愛荷華前眾議員致信上海日報:貿易爭端讓太多美農民不高興
發布時間:2019-06-22 13:08:23 文章來源:澎湃 作者:南博一 網絡編輯:奚小荻

  “太多美國農民不高興,而且隨著爭端持久化,更多人對未來感到困惑。”美國愛荷華州一位前眾議員在他給中國媒體《上海日報》的信的一開頭如此寫道。

  6月17日,《上海日報》刊登了新華社的英文深度報道,題為《洪災與美中貿易爭端給美國中西部農民帶來災難》(Midwest farmers devastated by historic floods, ongoing US-China trade tensions)。文章客觀反映了自然災害與貿易爭端,尤其是后者給美國農民帶來的災難。文章提到,自今年3月底以來,美國中西部地區連綿不絕的水患讓當地的農民叫苦不迭。密蘇里農會會長布萊克·赫斯特表示,如此大范圍、席卷整個中西部地區的嚴重洪災,在他40多年務農的記憶中未曾有過。除了天災,美國政府挑起的對華貿易爭端更加劇了美國中西部農民的困境。貿易爭端造成美國對華大豆出口大幅下降,大豆價格走低,農民收入大打折扣,不少農民面臨經濟困難。雖然美國政府去年和今年分別推出120億美元和160億美元的對農民損失的補貼援助計劃,但受災的農民對記者表示,比起補貼,他們更想要的是穩定的市場。

  文章發表后不久,《上海日報》收到了美國愛荷華州前眾議員格雷?庫薩克(Greg Cusack)的來信。庫薩克在來信中開門見山地說:“太多美國農民不高興,而且隨著爭端持久化,更多人對未來感到困惑。”

  庫薩克指出,由于“共和黨人慣于利用單個政治問題大做文章,往傷口撒鹽,以及民主黨賴以生存的農村地區日益凋零”,美國農民因此頗感無奈,覺得無路可走。而民主黨遠未找到農業或農村的一攬子解決方案,這就讓情況更加糟糕。

  庫薩克在信中還表示,《上海日報》發表的新華社及其他相關文章對美國農民等問題的報道是很有廣度的,也是符合事實的。相比之下,美國一些媒體對美國國內外新聞的報道非常欠缺,遠不能滿足哪怕只有一般知識背景的讀者的需求。

  他在信中還描述了美國社會日益分化的種種表現,并指出:“我認為,《上海日報》在報道這些令人關心的話題方面是很有廣度的,我希望貴報繼續報道美國的這些問題,盡管目前美國與中國有貿易摩擦。這些問題說明了美國社會身陷窘境,它們包括:學生債務居高不下(畢業后也是債臺高筑)、工資大多停滯不前、財富差距拉大、農村陷入困境。”

  這不是庫薩克第一次給《上海日報》寫信了。《上海日報》副總編王勇告訴澎湃新聞(www.thepaper.cn),此前,庫薩克讀了《上海日報》發表的有關上海建設美麗鄉村的深度評論之后,特別來信稱贊中國在習近平總書記帶領下,為振興農村做出的巨大努力,并指出美國兩黨對農村的支持是口惠而實不至,因而美國農業和農村生活日益衰敗。他那篇來信也發表在《上海日報》評論版。

  庫薩克曾任愛荷華州眾議員,其主要工作之一是振興美國農村和農業。

  王勇告訴澎湃新聞,庫薩克多次在重大問題上支持中國的正義立場,比如在南海問題和互聯網管理等問題上,他都來信積極支持中國立場。他還自費遠程學習中國歷史和傳統文化。兩年前他還促成愛荷華州《得梅因紀事報》資深評論員來上海采訪《上海日報》,肯定中國的新聞報道理念。《得梅因紀事報》記者返美后,寫了融媒體深度報道,希望美國不要再對中國媒體抱有偏見了。

  “庫薩克一直來信跟我們說,美國的新聞界不只是華爾街的新聞界,像愛荷華州這樣的農業大州,新聞界對中國是友好的,報道也是客觀理性的。他希望愛荷華州能為中美友好合作做出更大的貢獻。”王勇說道。

  《上海日報》刊登報道及格雷?庫薩克(Greg Cusack)來信原文如下:

  Midwest farmers devastated by historic floods, ongoing US-China trade tensions

  (《上海日報》,6月17日)

  About 10 days after the latest round of rainfall, half of Tom Waters’ farmland is still under water. “Some of it’s flooded from the river. Some of it’s flooded from seep water. Some of it just rain water that has nowhere else to go because it won’t drain,” said the seventh-generation farmer.

  Waters and his family farm about 3,500 acres (1,416 hectares) of land in Orrick, Missouri, a small town east of Kansas City. Among his nearly 1,700-acre rain-soaked fields, 900 acres were swallowed by the surging Missouri River when a levee broke on June 1 and are still up to 4.5 meters below water.

  He had planted a few acres of corn, with the rest intended for soybeans, but “it’s just gone now,” Waters told Xinhua, estimating the loss to be “several hundred thousand dollars.”

  When the flood hit, Waters had to move out some 60,000 bushels (1,633 tons) of soybeans in storage, and sold them at “a pretty low price,” about US$3 a bushel off the normal price prior to the US-China trade tensions. “That’s a lot of dollars difference for us,” he said.

  “This has just been rain after rain. Before it even dries out it rains again. It’s been week after week after week like that,” said Waters, who has been farming for over 40 years in this area, adding that the persistent wet weather is a “very rare event.”

  Noting that reservoirs up in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota still have too much water to dump, the seasoned farmer worried that “the river is going to be high all the rest of spring and through summer, so chances are we won’t get any of this (flooded land) planted this year.”

  Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, also a corn and soybean farmer in Tarkio, northwest Missouri, told Xinhua that he saw similarly catastrophic floods in this area in 1993, but such a widespread severe flooding throughout the Midwest is the worst he can remember. “The last 12 months, in the center part of the United States, have been the wettest 12 months on record,” said Hurst, who has about 500 acres of land under water, noting that the relentless rain since late March has contributed to significant planting delays.

  In the biggest corn-producing states, farmers had planted 83 percent of corn acreage by June 9, compared with a five-year average of 99 percent, according to the latest data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

  Hurst, who also has 40-plus years of farming experience, said corn should ideally be planted by the first week of May, and a one-month delay could cut the normal yield by roughly 20 percent, as there might not be enough time for it to mature before the frost hits the ground. The seemingly relentless rain in the Midwest has left farmers drowning in frustration. On top of that, many growers have been bearing the brunt of the US-initiated trade dispute with China, struggling with financial hardship and facing an uncertain future.

  “We’ve seen a big cut in our (soybean) exports to China because of the trade tension, and that’s caused prices to drop,” Hurst said, adding that several months of trade frictions have “made a big difference” to farmers’ income.

  Noting that the United States has had five years of above average crop yields, Hurst said that already led to an oversupply. A decline in exports to China, caused by the trade tensions and compounded by the African swine fever outbreak, has worsened the situation, he said.

  ‘Not a dependable supplier’

  “It’s just a combination of all of them that has really made farming kind of difficult this year,” Hurst said. “It just keeps on and coming.”

  For Waters, a combination of circumstances has made planning nearly impossible. “I think this has been the hardest year to make decisions for me since I’ve been farming,” he said.

  Waters said it has been stressful to wait for a resolution to the trade dispute. “You keep thinking, well maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow, then you hear a little bit of good news and maybe the price bumps up a little bit and then that blows up and it goes back down. So it’s just been difficult,” he said. Hurst, who farms 6,000 acres of land with his family, usually plants corns on half of the acreage and soybeans on the other half. Earlier this year, he had planned to plant 5 to 10 percent more corn because of the trade dispute and lower demand for soybeans. The unusual wet spring, however, makes that goal unfeasible.

  “Now, anybody that’s shifting will shift to soybean simply because it’s too late for corn,” Hurst said, adding that if soybeans don’t get planted by this week, farmers will start to lose yield as well.

  However, the USDA data shows that growers in the major soybean-producing states had only planted 60 percent of acreage by June 9, far below a five-year average of 88 percent. Speaking of the newly approved disaster relief bill and the new round of trade aid package, Hurst urged the administration to announce detailed rules of these programs quickly so that farmers can better plan.

  Noting that it took Congress months to pass the disaster relief bill, Waters said he doesn’t expect to receive any money until weeks later. Still, he prefers a stable market rather than a trade aid package. “The question has to be, are we losing these markets permanently?” Hurst said, noting that trade tensions in some ways make the United States “not a dependable supplier” for soybeans.

  “Obviously we’re going to put tariffs on you. We’re going to announce tariffs in a tweet. So they can happen at any time. So if I’m a grain buyer anywhere in the world, I’m looking for a supplier I can trust, and we’re no longer that supplier,” he said. “We’ll be paying for this for years.”

  The authors are Xinhua writers.

  Media role in informing US farmers

  (格雷?庫薩克來信,英文,發表于《上海日報》,6月21日)

  I wrote this after reading “Midwest farmers devastated by historic floods, ongoing US-China trade tensions” in the Shanghai Daily (June 17). One heck of a lot of farmers in America are not happy, and an even greater number are very worried about how this will all play out, especially the longer the stand-off continues.

  The age of the average farmer continues to increase, the prices they receive for their crops are stagnant, the costs of the inputs nonetheless are increasing, and corporate mono-crop “farming” is harming land, air, and water (the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is larger than ever).

  So, are they just stupid, misinformed, or what?

  I think the problem is really the vast division in our country caused by the culture wars — the real, but deliberately exaggerated, tensions between generations, the urban-rural divide, the skillful way the Republicans keep single-issue politics picked raw, and the marked decline in rural districts that are Democratic leaning. In a sense, many farmers thus believe that they have nowhere else to go.

  The Democratic candidates have yet to produce, at least to my knowledge, anything that could remotely be described as a farm or rural program package, making the situation even more dire.

  I think the wide range of concerns covered by the Shanghai Daily is truly remarkable, and I hope that despite current tensions you will continue to cover matters in the US, including the many indicators that we are a society in deep trouble: such as levels of student debt after graduation, still largely stagnant wages, the ongoing widening disparity of wealth and the genuine plight of rural America. In contrast, newspapers in the US are not doing so well. The Oregonian, the newspaper published in Portland and its metro area of a few million, is nothing like what it was in the recent past.

  They now deliver paper editions to subscribers only four days a week, expecting that on other days people will use their digital apps to access them. And their national, let alone international, coverage is insufficient to provide the information even half-informed citizens need.

  The author is a retired US statesman. He now lives in Oregon.

  《上海日報》刊登報道中文及格雷?庫薩克(Greg Cusack)來信文章中譯版如下:

  特寫:洪災與貿易爭端夾擊的春播季給美國農民帶來太多艱難

  (新華社,2019年6月14日)

  新華社美國奧里克6月13日電(記者熊茂伶 胡友松)在位于美國中部密蘇里州的小鎮奧里克,年過六旬的湯姆·沃特斯指著一片渾濁的水域告訴新華社記者,這里有他的近千英畝(1英畝約合0.4公頃)農田,可惜已被本月初密蘇里河決堤后引發的洪水淹沒。

  沃特斯一家七代務農,目前擁有超過3500英畝農田,主要種大豆和玉米,但眼下有一半農田都遭了災。他表示,由于上游蒙大拿州、北達科他州等地水庫還有大量蓄水,需要開閘泄洪,自己受淹的農田估計到整個夏天結束都難以重見天日。

  “(受淹的農田)有可能今年什么也不能種了。”沃特斯無奈地說,他預計洪災將令自己損失幾十萬美元。

  自今年3月底以來,美國中西部地區連綿不絕的水患讓沃特斯這樣的農民叫苦不迭,播種進程一再延誤。美國農業部數據顯示,截至上周,全美大約83%的玉米地完成了播種,進度落后于過去5年同期99%的平均水平;大豆播種完成比例為60%,也低于過去5年同期88%的平均水平。

  密蘇里農會會長布萊克·赫斯特告訴記者,如此大范圍、席卷整個中西部地區的嚴重洪災,在他40多年務農的記憶中未曾有過。他表示,即便洪水退去,受淹農田也需等待時日才能讓土壤恢復,這意味著部分農田將錯過整個播種季。

  赫斯特說,玉米的最佳播種期已過去一個月,如果現在開始種玉米,今年恐怕僅能實現八成收成;而大豆的播種窗口也在收窄,如果下周還不能完成播種,今年大豆產量也會受到影響。

  不僅僅是天災,美國政府挑起的對華貿易爭端更加劇了美國中西部農民的困境。赫斯特說,貿易爭端造成美國對華大豆出口大幅下降,大豆價格走低,農民收入大打折扣,不少農民面臨經濟困難。

  赫斯特表示,過去5年,美國大豆等農作物實現罕見連續豐產,本已造成供過于求,而經貿摩擦降低了中國這個大市場對美國大豆的需求,美國大豆供給過剩更嚴重,“這些因素疊加到一起,讓今年農民的日子不好過”。

  沃特斯原本囤了6萬蒲式耳大豆(1蒲式耳大豆約重27.2公斤),以待價格回暖時出售。但因今春洪水來襲,他不得不及時轉移存貨、低價甩賣,與中美經貿摩擦發生之前的大豆價格相比,損失了約18萬美元。

  與許多農民相比,沃特斯還算幸運。據了解,在內布拉斯加、艾奧瓦、密蘇里等州,洪水不僅淹沒了田地,還席卷了部分谷倉,農民們只能眼睜睜地看著來不及搶運的糧食化為烏有。

  沃特斯坦言,今年是他務農以來做決定最艱難的一年,度過了很多個“不眠之夜”。他一直期待美中雙方能盡早達成協議解決貿易爭端,但等待的過程讓他焦慮不安。

  “一直想啊,可能明天(會達成協議),然后聽到一點好消息,大豆價格就漲了一點,然后期望又落空,價格又跌了,這對于所有農民來說都不容易。”他說。

  對于擁有6000英畝農田的赫斯特而言,今春的播種季也很艱難。赫斯特家的農田位于密蘇里州西北角的塔基奧小鎮,往年他通常會一半種大豆,一半種玉米。由于經貿摩擦導致大豆需求減少,赫斯特原本打算今年多種幾百英畝玉米。但持續降雨令他的玉米播種計劃一再推遲,錯過了最佳播種期,而如今如果改種大豆,又將面臨市場需求的不確定性。

  為彌補經貿摩擦給農民造成的損失,美國政府去年出臺了約120億美元的農業補貼計劃,為大豆等農作物種植戶提供一定補貼。但沃特斯表示,他去年生產的大豆只得到了部分補貼。

  今年5月下旬,美國農業部又宣布向農民提供最高達160億美元的援助計劃,以補償他們在經貿摩擦中遭受的損失。但沃特斯并不指望能很快拿到錢,與政府補貼相比,他更想要的是穩定的市場。

  赫斯特也對市場前景表示擔憂。他說,美國政府隨意加征關稅、挑起貿易爭端的行為會讓美國失去“可靠供應商”地位,并造成長期的負面影響,“我們將為此付出多年的代價”。(參與記者:高攀、劉杰)

  格雷?庫薩克來信(中文譯文)

  讀了《上海日報》6月17日刊登的文章(“洪災與貿易爭端給美國中西部農民帶來災難”),我提筆給貴報寫信。太多美國農民不高興,而且隨著爭端持久化,更多人對未來感到困惑。

  美國農民的平均年齡越來越大,生產成本越來越高,農產品的售價卻停滯不前,而且公司化的單品種種植行為給土地、空氣和水都帶來了危害(墨西哥灣的“死亡地帶”與日俱增。)

  這一切難道都是因為美國農民愚蠢嗎?還是由于他們信息有誤,或其他原因?

  在我看來,問題的真正根源在于我們國家文化戰爭造成的社會鴻溝 –代際沖突(真實存在但被刻意夸大)、城鄉分裂、共和黨人慣于利用單個政治問題大做文章,往傷口撒鹽、以及民主黨賴以生存的農村地區日益凋零。可以說,美國很多農民因此頗感無奈,覺得無路可走。民主黨遠未找到農業或農村的一攬子解決方案,這就讓情況更加糟糕。

  我認為,《上海日報》在報道這些令人關心的話題方面是很有廣度的,我希望貴報繼續報道美國的這些問題,盡管目前美國與中國有貿易摩擦。這些問題說明了美國社會身陷窘境,它們包括:學生債務居高不下(畢業后也是債臺高筑)、工資大多停滯不前、財富差距拉大、農村陷入困境。

  與貴報相反,美國報紙做得并不好。比如在俄勒岡及周邊數百萬人口地區發行的《俄勒岡人報》已今不如昔。該報紙質版現在每周只發行四天,其余時間希望讀者通過電子應用軟件來閱讀。(在報業如此萎縮的情況下),別說國際新聞,就連美國國內新聞,該報都報道不力,遠不能滿足哪怕只有一般知識背景的讀者的需求。

  格雷·庫薩克  “太多美國農民不高興,而且隨著爭端持久化,更多人對未來感到困惑。”美國愛荷華州一位前眾議員在他給中國媒體《上海日報》的信的一開頭如此寫道。

  6月17日,《上海日報》刊登了新華社的英文深度報道,題為《洪災與美中貿易爭端給美國中西部農民帶來災難》(Midwest farmers devastated by historic floods, ongoing US-China trade tensions)。文章客觀反映了自然災害與貿易爭端,尤其是后者給美國農民帶來的災難。文章提到,自今年3月底以來,美國中西部地區連綿不絕的水患讓當地的農民叫苦不迭。密蘇里農會會長布萊克·赫斯特表示,如此大范圍、席卷整個中西部地區的嚴重洪災,在他40多年務農的記憶中未曾有過。除了天災,美國政府挑起的對華貿易爭端更加劇了美國中西部農民的困境。貿易爭端造成美國對華大豆出口大幅下降,大豆價格走低,農民收入大打折扣,不少農民面臨經濟困難。雖然美國政府去年和今年分別推出120億美元和160億美元的對農民損失的補貼援助計劃,但受災的農民對記者表示,比起補貼,他們更想要的是穩定的市場。

  文章發表后不久,《上海日報》收到了美國愛荷華州前眾議員格雷?庫薩克(Greg Cusack)的來信。庫薩克在來信中開門見山地說:“太多美國農民不高興,而且隨著爭端持久化,更多人對未來感到困惑。”

  庫薩克指出,由于“共和黨人慣于利用單個政治問題大做文章,往傷口撒鹽,以及民主黨賴以生存的農村地區日益凋零”,美國農民因此頗感無奈,覺得無路可走。而民主黨遠未找到農業或農村的一攬子解決方案,這就讓情況更加糟糕。

  庫薩克在信中還表示,《上海日報》發表的新華社及其他相關文章對美國農民等問題的報道是很有廣度的,也是符合事實的。相比之下,美國一些媒體對美國國內外新聞的報道非常欠缺,遠不能滿足哪怕只有一般知識背景的讀者的需求。

  他在信中還描述了美國社會日益分化的種種表現,并指出:“我認為,《上海日報》在報道這些令人關心的話題方面是很有廣度的,我希望貴報繼續報道美國的這些問題,盡管目前美國與中國有貿易摩擦。這些問題說明了美國社會身陷窘境,它們包括:學生債務居高不下(畢業后也是債臺高筑)、工資大多停滯不前、財富差距拉大、農村陷入困境。”

  這不是庫薩克第一次給《上海日報》寫信了。《上海日報》副總編王勇告訴澎湃新聞(www.thepaper.cn),此前,庫薩克讀了《上海日報》發表的有關上海建設美麗鄉村的深度評論之后,特別來信稱贊中國在習近平總書記帶領下,為振興農村做出的巨大努力,并指出美國兩黨對農村的支持是口惠而實不至,因而美國農業和農村生活日益衰敗。他那篇來信也發表在《上海日報》評論版。

  庫薩克曾任愛荷華州眾議員,其主要工作之一是振興美國農村和農業。

  王勇告訴澎湃新聞,庫薩克多次在重大問題上支持中國的正義立場,比如在南海問題和互聯網管理等問題上,他都來信積極支持中國立場。他還自費遠程學習中國歷史和傳統文化。兩年前他還促成愛荷華州《得梅因紀事報》資深評論員來上海采訪《上海日報》,肯定中國的新聞報道理念。《得梅因紀事報》記者返美后,寫了融媒體深度報道,希望美國不要再對中國媒體抱有偏見了。

  “庫薩克一直來信跟我們說,美國的新聞界不只是華爾街的新聞界,像愛荷華州這樣的農業大州,新聞界對中國是友好的,報道也是客觀理性的。他希望愛荷華州能為中美友好合作做出更大的貢獻。”王勇說道。

  《上海日報》刊登報道及格雷?庫薩克(Greg Cusack)來信原文如下:

  Midwest farmers devastated by historic floods, ongoing US-China trade tensions

  (《上海日報》,6月17日)

  About 10 days after the latest round of rainfall, half of Tom Waters’ farmland is still under water. “Some of it’s flooded from the river. Some of it’s flooded from seep water. Some of it just rain water that has nowhere else to go because it won’t drain,” said the seventh-generation farmer.

  Waters and his family farm about 3,500 acres (1,416 hectares) of land in Orrick, Missouri, a small town east of Kansas City. Among his nearly 1,700-acre rain-soaked fields, 900 acres were swallowed by the surging Missouri River when a levee broke on June 1 and are still up to 4.5 meters below water.

  He had planted a few acres of corn, with the rest intended for soybeans, but “it’s just gone now,” Waters told Xinhua, estimating the loss to be “several hundred thousand dollars.”

  When the flood hit, Waters had to move out some 60,000 bushels (1,633 tons) of soybeans in storage, and sold them at “a pretty low price,” about US$3 a bushel off the normal price prior to the US-China trade tensions. “That’s a lot of dollars difference for us,” he said.

  “This has just been rain after rain. Before it even dries out it rains again. It’s been week after week after week like that,” said Waters, who has been farming for over 40 years in this area, adding that the persistent wet weather is a “very rare event.”

  Noting that reservoirs up in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota still have too much water to dump, the seasoned farmer worried that “the river is going to be high all the rest of spring and through summer, so chances are we won’t get any of this (flooded land) planted this year.”

  Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, also a corn and soybean farmer in Tarkio, northwest Missouri, told Xinhua that he saw similarly catastrophic floods in this area in 1993, but such a widespread severe flooding throughout the Midwest is the worst he can remember. “The last 12 months, in the center part of the United States, have been the wettest 12 months on record,” said Hurst, who has about 500 acres of land under water, noting that the relentless rain since late March has contributed to significant planting delays.

  In the biggest corn-producing states, farmers had planted 83 percent of corn acreage by June 9, compared with a five-year average of 99 percent, according to the latest data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

  Hurst, who also has 40-plus years of farming experience, said corn should ideally be planted by the first week of May, and a one-month delay could cut the normal yield by roughly 20 percent, as there might not be enough time for it to mature before the frost hits the ground. The seemingly relentless rain in the Midwest has left farmers drowning in frustration. On top of that, many growers have been bearing the brunt of the US-initiated trade dispute with China, struggling with financial hardship and facing an uncertain future.

  “We’ve seen a big cut in our (soybean) exports to China because of the trade tension, and that’s caused prices to drop,” Hurst said, adding that several months of trade frictions have “made a big difference” to farmers’ income.

  Noting that the United States has had five years of above average crop yields, Hurst said that already led to an oversupply. A decline in exports to China, caused by the trade tensions and compounded by the African swine fever outbreak, has worsened the situation, he said.

  ‘Not a dependable supplier’

  “It’s just a combination of all of them that has really made farming kind of difficult this year,” Hurst said. “It just keeps on and coming.”

  For Waters, a combination of circumstances has made planning nearly impossible. “I think this has been the hardest year to make decisions for me since I’ve been farming,” he said.

  Waters said it has been stressful to wait for a resolution to the trade dispute. “You keep thinking, well maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow, then you hear a little bit of good news and maybe the price bumps up a little bit and then that blows up and it goes back down. So it’s just been difficult,” he said. Hurst, who farms 6,000 acres of land with his family, usually plants corns on half of the acreage and soybeans on the other half. Earlier this year, he had planned to plant 5 to 10 percent more corn because of the trade dispute and lower demand for soybeans. The unusual wet spring, however, makes that goal unfeasible.

  “Now, anybody that’s shifting will shift to soybean simply because it’s too late for corn,” Hurst said, adding that if soybeans don’t get planted by this week, farmers will start to lose yield as well.

  However, the USDA data shows that growers in the major soybean-producing states had only planted 60 percent of acreage by June 9, far below a five-year average of 88 percent. Speaking of the newly approved disaster relief bill and the new round of trade aid package, Hurst urged the administration to announce detailed rules of these programs quickly so that farmers can better plan.

  Noting that it took Congress months to pass the disaster relief bill, Waters said he doesn’t expect to receive any money until weeks later. Still, he prefers a stable market rather than a trade aid package. “The question has to be, are we losing these markets permanently?” Hurst said, noting that trade tensions in some ways make the United States “not a dependable supplier” for soybeans.

  “Obviously we’re going to put tariffs on you. We’re going to announce tariffs in a tweet. So they can happen at any time. So if I’m a grain buyer anywhere in the world, I’m looking for a supplier I can trust, and we’re no longer that supplier,” he said. “We’ll be paying for this for years.”

  The authors are Xinhua writers.

  Media role in informing US farmers

  (格雷?庫薩克來信,英文,發表于《上海日報》,6月21日)

  I wrote this after reading “Midwest farmers devastated by historic floods, ongoing US-China trade tensions” in the Shanghai Daily (June 17). One heck of a lot of farmers in America are not happy, and an even greater number are very worried about how this will all play out, especially the longer the stand-off continues.

  The age of the average farmer continues to increase, the prices they receive for their crops are stagnant, the costs of the inputs nonetheless are increasing, and corporate mono-crop “farming” is harming land, air, and water (the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is larger than ever).

  So, are they just stupid, misinformed, or what?

  I think the problem is really the vast division in our country caused by the culture wars — the real, but deliberately exaggerated, tensions between generations, the urban-rural divide, the skillful way the Republicans keep single-issue politics picked raw, and the marked decline in rural districts that are Democratic leaning. In a sense, many farmers thus believe that they have nowhere else to go.

  The Democratic candidates have yet to produce, at least to my knowledge, anything that could remotely be described as a farm or rural program package, making the situation even more dire.

  I think the wide range of concerns covered by the Shanghai Daily is truly remarkable, and I hope that despite current tensions you will continue to cover matters in the US, including the many indicators that we are a society in deep trouble: such as levels of student debt after graduation, still largely stagnant wages, the ongoing widening disparity of wealth and the genuine plight of rural America. In contrast, newspapers in the US are not doing so well. The Oregonian, the newspaper published in Portland and its metro area of a few million, is nothing like what it was in the recent past.

  They now deliver paper editions to subscribers only four days a week, expecting that on other days people will use their digital apps to access them. And their national, let alone international, coverage is insufficient to provide the information even half-informed citizens need.

  The author is a retired US statesman. He now lives in Oregon.

  《上海日報》刊登報道中文及格雷?庫薩克(Greg Cusack)來信文章中譯版如下:

  特寫:洪災與貿易爭端夾擊的春播季給美國農民帶來太多艱難

  (新華社,2019年6月14日)

  新華社美國奧里克6月13日電(記者熊茂伶 胡友松)在位于美國中部密蘇里州的小鎮奧里克,年過六旬的湯姆·沃特斯指著一片渾濁的水域告訴新華社記者,這里有他的近千英畝(1英畝約合0.4公頃)農田,可惜已被本月初密蘇里河決堤后引發的洪水淹沒。

  沃特斯一家七代務農,目前擁有超過3500英畝農田,主要種大豆和玉米,但眼下有一半農田都遭了災。他表示,由于上游蒙大拿州、北達科他州等地水庫還有大量蓄水,需要開閘泄洪,自己受淹的農田估計到整個夏天結束都難以重見天日。

  “(受淹的農田)有可能今年什么也不能種了。”沃特斯無奈地說,他預計洪災將令自己損失幾十萬美元。

  自今年3月底以來,美國中西部地區連綿不絕的水患讓沃特斯這樣的農民叫苦不迭,播種進程一再延誤。美國農業部數據顯示,截至上周,全美大約83%的玉米地完成了播種,進度落后于過去5年同期99%的平均水平;大豆播種完成比例為60%,也低于過去5年同期88%的平均水平。

  密蘇里農會會長布萊克·赫斯特告訴記者,如此大范圍、席卷整個中西部地區的嚴重洪災,在他40多年務農的記憶中未曾有過。他表示,即便洪水退去,受淹農田也需等待時日才能讓土壤恢復,這意味著部分農田將錯過整個播種季。

  赫斯特說,玉米的最佳播種期已過去一個月,如果現在開始種玉米,今年恐怕僅能實現八成收成;而大豆的播種窗口也在收窄,如果下周還不能完成播種,今年大豆產量也會受到影響。

  不僅僅是天災,美國政府挑起的對華貿易爭端更加劇了美國中西部農民的困境。赫斯特說,貿易爭端造成美國對華大豆出口大幅下降,大豆價格走低,農民收入大打折扣,不少農民面臨經濟困難。

  赫斯特表示,過去5年,美國大豆等農作物實現罕見連續豐產,本已造成供過于求,而經貿摩擦降低了中國這個大市場對美國大豆的需求,美國大豆供給過剩更嚴重,“這些因素疊加到一起,讓今年農民的日子不好過”。

  沃特斯原本囤了6萬蒲式耳大豆(1蒲式耳大豆約重27.2公斤),以待價格回暖時出售。但因今春洪水來襲,他不得不及時轉移存貨、低價甩賣,與中美經貿摩擦發生之前的大豆價格相比,損失了約18萬美元。

  與許多農民相比,沃特斯還算幸運。據了解,在內布拉斯加、艾奧瓦、密蘇里等州,洪水不僅淹沒了田地,還席卷了部分谷倉,農民們只能眼睜睜地看著來不及搶運的糧食化為烏有。

  沃特斯坦言,今年是他務農以來做決定最艱難的一年,度過了很多個“不眠之夜”。他一直期待美中雙方能盡早達成協議解決貿易爭端,但等待的過程讓他焦慮不安。

  “一直想啊,可能明天(會達成協議),然后聽到一點好消息,大豆價格就漲了一點,然后期望又落空,價格又跌了,這對于所有農民來說都不容易。”他說。

  對于擁有6000英畝農田的赫斯特而言,今春的播種季也很艱難。赫斯特家的農田位于密蘇里州西北角的塔基奧小鎮,往年他通常會一半種大豆,一半種玉米。由于經貿摩擦導致大豆需求減少,赫斯特原本打算今年多種幾百英畝玉米。但持續降雨令他的玉米播種計劃一再推遲,錯過了最佳播種期,而如今如果改種大豆,又將面臨市場需求的不確定性。

  為彌補經貿摩擦給農民造成的損失,美國政府去年出臺了約120億美元的農業補貼計劃,為大豆等農作物種植戶提供一定補貼。但沃特斯表示,他去年生產的大豆只得到了部分補貼。

  今年5月下旬,美國農業部又宣布向農民提供最高達160億美元的援助計劃,以補償他們在經貿摩擦中遭受的損失。但沃特斯并不指望能很快拿到錢,與政府補貼相比,他更想要的是穩定的市場。

  赫斯特也對市場前景表示擔憂。他說,美國政府隨意加征關稅、挑起貿易爭端的行為會讓美國失去“可靠供應商”地位,并造成長期的負面影響,“我們將為此付出多年的代價”。(參與記者:高攀、劉杰)

  格雷?庫薩克來信(中文譯文)

  讀了《上海日報》6月17日刊登的文章(“洪災與貿易爭端給美國中西部農民帶來災難”),我提筆給貴報寫信。太多美國農民不高興,而且隨著爭端持久化,更多人對未來感到困惑。

  美國農民的平均年齡越來越大,生產成本越來越高,農產品的售價卻停滯不前,而且公司化的單品種種植行為給土地、空氣和水都帶來了危害(墨西哥灣的“死亡地帶”與日俱增。)

  這一切難道都是因為美國農民愚蠢嗎?還是由于他們信息有誤,或其他原因?

  在我看來,問題的真正根源在于我們國家文化戰爭造成的社會鴻溝 –代際沖突(真實存在但被刻意夸大)、城鄉分裂、共和黨人慣于利用單個政治問題大做文章,往傷口撒鹽、以及民主黨賴以生存的農村地區日益凋零。可以說,美國很多農民因此頗感無奈,覺得無路可走。民主黨遠未找到農業或農村的一攬子解決方案,這就讓情況更加糟糕。

  我認為,《上海日報》在報道這些令人關心的話題方面是很有廣度的,我希望貴報繼續報道美國的這些問題,盡管目前美國與中國有貿易摩擦。這些問題說明了美國社會身陷窘境,它們包括:學生債務居高不下(畢業后也是債臺高筑)、工資大多停滯不前、財富差距拉大、農村陷入困境。

  與貴報相反,美國報紙做得并不好。比如在俄勒岡及周邊數百萬人口地區發行的《俄勒岡人報》已今不如昔。該報紙質版現在每周只發行四天,其余時間希望讀者通過電子應用軟件來閱讀。(在報業如此萎縮的情況下),別說國際新聞,就連美國國內新聞,該報都報道不力,遠不能滿足哪怕只有一般知識背景的讀者的需求。

  格雷·庫薩克

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