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In Iowa, Trump’s ‘Long Rope’ With Farmers Is Starting to Run Out

  • Industry wants to see trade resolution, biofuel policy change
  • ‘2019 is a pivotal year’ for making good on ethanol promises
A farmer walks through a corn field on his family's cattle farm in Nevada, Iowa.
Photographer: Barrett Emke/Bloomberg
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Let’s not overstate it. Iowa’s agricultural heartland is still largely Trump country. But there are signs, nascent and just starting to bubble, that support is being tested.

That was the message at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Altoona this week. The state is the largest U.S. producer of corn-based ethanol. Donald Trump has time and again pledged to back the biofuel industry, even promising a plan that would mean higher sales this summer. But his trade war with China has meant American producers face tariffs, while ripples from the record-long government shutdown threaten to delay the policy change that could lift demand.