贸易争端让太多美农民不高兴

2019-10-16 作者:政府机构   |   浏览(156)

“太多美国农民不高兴,而且随着争端持久化,更多人对未来感到困惑。”美国艾奥瓦州一位前众议员在他给中国媒体《上海日报》的信的一开头如此写道。

Chapter1

6月17日,《上海日报》刊登了新华社的英文深度报道,题为《洪灾与美中贸易争端给美国中西部农民带来灾难》(Midwest farmers devastated by historic floods, ongoing US-China trade tensions)。文章客观反映了自然灾害与贸易争端,尤其是后者给美国农民带来的灾难。文章提到,自今年3月底以来,美国中西部地区连绵不绝的水患让当地的农民叫苦不迭。密苏里农会会长布莱克·赫斯特表示,如此大范围、席卷整个中西部地区的严重洪灾,在他40多年务农的记忆中未曾有过。除了天灾,美国政府挑起的对华贸易争端更加剧了美国中西部农民的困境。贸易争端造成美国对华大豆出口大幅下降,大豆价格走低,农民收入大打折扣,不少农民面临经济困难。虽然美国政府去年和今年分别推出120亿美元和160亿美元的对农民损失的补贴援助计划,但受灾的农民对记者表示,比起补贴,他们更想要的是稳定的市场。

Q1: Tracing back to the very beginning of the food chain (such as the producing area/the food processing company), where do you think YOUR last supper come from?

文章发表后不久,《上海日报》收到了美国艾奥瓦州前众议员格雷 库萨克(Greg Cusack)的来信。库萨克在来信中开门见山地说:“太多美国农民不高兴,而且随着争端持久化,更多人对未来感到困惑。”

I totally have forgotten what it was... Now I'm having Vietnamese food. Fried rice absolutely comes from rice but as the author writes the oil maybe extracted from corn... Luckily the vegetables have to do with corn!

库萨克指出,由于“共和党人惯于利用单个政治问题大做文章,往伤口撒盐,以及民主党赖以生存的农村地区日益凋零”,美国农民因此颇感无奈,觉得无路可走。而民主党远未找到农业或农村的一揽子解决方案,这就让情况更加糟糕。

Q2: How does the author connect chicken nugget with corn?

库萨克在信中还表示,《上海日报》发表的新华社及其他相关文章对美国农民等问题的报道是很有广度的,也是符合事实的。相比之下,美国一些媒体对美国国内外新闻的报道非常欠缺,远不能满足哪怕只有一般知识背景的读者的需求。

Well though the chicken may not have any ralations with corn, the flour that attached to thechicken may be corn flour. The chicken perhaps is glued together by corn starch and then gets fried by corn oil!

他在信中还描述了美国社会日益分化的种种表现,并指出:“我认为,《上海日报》在报道这些令人关心的话题方面是很有广度的,我希望贵报继续报道美国的这些问题,尽管目前美国与中国有贸易摩擦。这些问题说明了美国社会身陷窘境,它们包括:学生债务居高不下(毕业后也是债台高筑)、工资大多停滞不前、财富差距拉大、农村陷入困境。”

That's how the author tries to connect chicken nugget with corn

这不是库萨克第一次给《上海日报》写信了。《上海日报》副总编王勇告诉澎湃新闻(www.thepaper.cn),此前,库萨克读了《上海日报》发表的有关上海建设美丽乡村的深度评论之后,特别来信称赞中国在习近平总书记带领下,为振兴农村做出的巨大努力,并指出美国两党对农村的支持是口惠而实不至,因而美国农业和农村生活日益衰败。他那篇来信也发表在《上海日报》评论版。

#Week1#  Today's reading task is Chapter Two The Farm

库萨克曾任艾奥瓦州众议员,其主要工作之一是振兴美国农村和农业。

Question 1: Since 1920s, the yields of corn have raised from about 20 bushels per acre to almost 200 bushels per acre. Why or how are the yields able to increase so much?

王勇告诉澎湃新闻,库萨克多次在重大问题上支持中国的正义立场,比如在南海问题和互联网管理等问题上,他都来信积极支持中国立场。他还自费远程学习中国历史和传统文化。两年前他还促成艾奥瓦州《得梅因纪事报》资深评论员来上海采访《上海日报》,肯定中国的新闻报道理念。《得梅因纪事报》记者返美后,写了融媒体深度报道,希望美国不要再对中国媒体抱有偏见了。

Years ago, in order not to ruin the land, farmers plant corn and soybean in turns. But in modern times, with synthetic fertilizer being used to the land, farmers no longer have to consider the ability of the land.

“库萨克一直来信跟我们说,美国的新闻界不只是华尔街的新闻界,像艾奥瓦州这样的农业大州,新闻界对中国是友好的,报道也是客观理性的。他希望艾奥瓦州能为中美友好合作做出更大的贡献。”王勇说道。

Question 2: Where does the excessive fertilizer end up?

《上海日报》刊登报道及格雷 库萨克(Greg Cusack)来信原文如下:

Cannot remember...

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

在这一章里,作者Pollan深入一个玉米地,和农民大叔George naylor聊天,了解玉米的历史,即玉米是如何在corn belt泛滥起来的。从中大家注意去发现,一个农作物,在什么力量下,产量在短短几十年翻了100倍!而且这样的疯狂增产,既不符合the rule of nature, 也不符合the rule of economics, 它为什么会存在?

(《上海日报》,6月17日)

#Week1#  Today we’ll have a rather easy reading: Chapter Three The Elevator .

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.

In this Chapter, Pollan depicts what the grain elevators are like, and the possible manipulating forces behinds those “giant barns”.

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.

Question 1: How does the government manage to keep corn production high and corn prices low?

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.”

The goverment give subsidy to farmers when the balance of supply and demand of corn breaks. SO no matter how low the price of corn is, farmers have to make more yields to earn more. This is a strange thing, you spend more money planting the corn than just but it.

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.

#Week1#  Today’s reading task is Chapter Four The Feedlot.

“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.”

In this chapter, Pollan traces the life of a steer (牛) from its birth place to its feedlot. It used to take a cattle 4-5 years to get slaughtered, but now the growing time has been compressed to 16 months. In this highly unnatural process, something wrong must ensue.

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.”

Question 1: What problems do cattle have when their staple food is corn?

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.

They were born to eat grass not corn. But it takes more time and it is harder to digest. So the cattle gets fat really fast and easily gets sick.

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 .

Question 2: What risks can human have if people do not properly dispose the feedlot wastes?

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.

恶性循环,废水进入了我们的生态系统,很有可能再被人类吸收然后反作用于我们。

“We’ve seen a big cut in our 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.

Question 3: After reading this chapter, do you want to eat industrial meat anymore?

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 anymore. I feel sad about everything.

‘Not a dependable supplier’

When you read this chapter, did you find Pollan’s language humorous, with a sense of pathetic irony? That’s what I like about reading Pollan’s works. Here are some of the phrases/lines I find interesting:

“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.”

  1. The urbanization of modern animals

  2. An arsenal of new drugs

  3. Eating industrial meat takes an almost heroic act of not knowing or, now, forgetting.

  4. “You are what you eat” is a truism hard to argue with, and yet it is, as a visit to a feedlot suggests, incomplete, for you are what what your eat eats, too. And what we are, or have become, is not just meat but number 2 corn and oil.

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.

这本书我认为作者观点很好,有启发性。我很好奇在中国的情况是怎么样的,是否也有类似的情况?

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.

我读大学的时候,室友跟我们讲,他爸爸是检验检疫的,时不时会收老乡的红包,因为老乡们时不时会有些死猪(也许不是病死的,但也许是),因为死一头会损失不少钱,所以就塞红包通过检疫,反正在市场上卖肉的时候都已经在砧板上了。

“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.

那这种情况下我们再吃了来历不明的猪肉肯定也会有影响。

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.

后来也听说如果猪死了政府会补贴,但是具体情况我就不清楚了,我觉得平时人们对这方面关注比较少,如果某位中国作家结合中国国情写类似的书籍,挺期待的。

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.

另外,关于农作物产量,最近在读的另一本书,吴军的文明之光,里面介绍了中国古代农民发明的垄耕法,能够提高产量的很好方式,欧洲17世纪以前的耕作都还是属于均匀播种,靠天吃饭,不论灌溉,锄草还是施肥都不方便,并且产量不高,还是很感慨作为农业大国的中国,在农业这方面的强大,才有了相对先进文明的诞生。

“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 库萨克来信,英文,发表于《上海日报》,6月21日)

I wrote this after reading “Midwest farmers devastated by historic floods, ongoing US-China trade tensions” in the Shanghai Daily . 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.

《上海日报》刊登报道中文及格雷 库萨克(Greg Cusack)来信文章中译版如下:

特写:洪灾与贸易争端夹击的春播季给美国农民带来太多艰难

(新华社,2019年6月14日)

新华社美国奥里克6月13日电(记者熊茂伶 胡友松)在位于美国中部密苏里州的小镇奥里克,年过六旬的汤姆·沃特斯指着一片浑浊的水域告诉新华社记者,这里有他的近千英亩(1英亩约合0.4公顷)农田,可惜已被本月初密苏里河决堤后引发的洪水淹没。

沃特斯一家七代务农,目前拥有超过3500英亩农田,主要种大豆和玉米,但眼下有一半农田都遭了灾。他表示,由于上游蒙大拿州、北达科他州等地水库还有大量蓄水,需要开闸泄洪,自己受淹的农田估计到整个夏天结束都难以重见天日。

“有可能今年什么也不能种了。”沃特斯无奈地说,他预计洪灾将令自己损失几十万美元。

自今年3月底以来,美国中西部地区连绵不绝的水患让沃特斯这样的农民叫苦不迭,播种进程一再延误。美国农业部数据显示,截至上周,全美大约83%的玉米地完成了播种,进度落后于过去5年同期99%的平均水平;大豆播种完成比例为60%,也低于过去5年同期88%的平均水平。

密苏里农会会长布莱克·赫斯特告诉记者,如此大范围、席卷整个中西部地区的严重洪灾,在他40多年务农的记忆中未曾有过。他表示,即便洪水退去,受淹农田也需等待时日才能让土壤恢复,这意味着部分农田将错过整个播种季。

赫斯特说,玉米的最佳播种期已过去一个月,如果现在开始种玉米,今年恐怕仅能实现八成收成;而大豆的播种窗口也在收窄,如果下周还不能完成播种,今年大豆产量也会受到影响。

不仅仅是天灾,美国政府挑起的对华贸易争端更加剧了美国中西部农民的困境。赫斯特说,贸易争端造成美国对华大豆出口大幅下降,大豆价格走低,农民收入大打折扣,不少农民面临经济困难。

赫斯特表示,过去5年,美国大豆等农作物实现罕见连续丰产,本已造成供过于求,而经贸摩擦降低了中国这个大市场对美国大豆的需求,美国大豆供给过剩更严重,“这些因素叠加到一起,让今年农民的日子不好过”。

沃特斯原本囤了6万蒲式耳大豆(1蒲式耳大豆约重27.2公斤),以待价格回暖时出售。但因今春洪水来袭,他不得不及时转移存货、低价甩卖,与中美经贸摩擦发生之前的大豆价格相比,损失了约18万美元。

与许多农民相比,沃特斯还算幸运。据了解,在内布拉斯加、艾奥瓦、密苏里等州,洪水不仅淹没了田地,还席卷了部分谷仓,农民们只能眼睁睁地看着来不及抢运的粮食化为乌有。

沃特斯坦言,今年是他务农以来做决定最艰难的一年,度过了很多个“不眠之夜”。他一直期待美中双方能尽早达成协议解决贸易争端,但等待的过程让他焦虑不安。

“一直想啊,可能明天,然后听到一点好消息,大豆价格就涨了一点,然后期望又落空,价格又跌了,这对于所有农民来说都不容易。”他说。

对于拥有6000英亩农田的赫斯特而言,今春的播种季也很艰难。赫斯特家的农田位于密苏里州西北角的塔基奥小镇,往年他通常会一半种大豆,一半种玉米。由于经贸摩擦导致大豆需求减少,赫斯特原本打算今年多种几百英亩玉米。但持续降雨令他的玉米播种计划一再推迟,错过了最佳播种期,而如今如果改种大豆,又将面临市场需求的不确定性。

为弥补经贸摩擦给农民造成的损失,美国政府去年出台了约120亿美元的农业补贴计划,为大豆等农作物种植户提供一定补贴。但沃特斯表示,他去年生产的大豆只得到了部分补贴。

今年5月下旬,美国农业部又宣布向农民提供最高达160亿美元的援助计划,以补偿他们在经贸摩擦中遭受的损失。但沃特斯并不指望能很快拿到钱,与政府补贴相比,他更想要的是稳定的市场。

赫斯特也对市场前景表示担忧。他说,美国政府随意加征关税、挑起贸易争端的行为会让美国失去“可靠供应商”地位,并造成长期的负面影响,“我们将为此付出多年的代价”。(参与记者:高攀、刘杰)

格雷 库萨克来信

读了《上海日报》6月17日刊登的文章(“洪灾与贸易争端给美国中西部农民带来灾难”),我提笔给贵报写信。太多美国农民不高兴,而且随着争端持久化,更多人对未来感到困惑。

美国农民的平均年龄越来越大,生产成本越来越高,农产品的售价却停滞不前,而且公司化的单品种种植行为给土地、空气和水都带来了危害(墨西哥湾的“死亡地带”与日俱增。)

这一切难道都是因为美国农民愚蠢吗?还是由于他们信息有误,或其他原因?

在我看来,问题的真正根源在于我们国家文化战争造成的社会鸿沟 –代际冲突(真实存在但被刻意夸大)、城乡分裂、共和党人惯于利用单个政治问题大做文章,往伤口撒盐、以及民主党赖以生存的农村地区日益凋零。可以说,美国很多农民因此颇感无奈,觉得无路可走。民主党远未找到农业或农村的一揽子解决方案,这就让情况更加糟糕。

我认为,《上海日报》在报道这些令人关心的话题方面是很有广度的,我希望贵报继续报道美国的这些问题,尽管目前美国与中国有贸易摩擦。这些问题说明了美国社会身陷窘境,它们包括:学生债务居高不下(毕业后也是债台高筑)、工资大多停滞不前、财富差距拉大、农村陷入困境。

与贵报相反,美国报纸做得并不好。比如在俄勒冈及周边数百万人口地区发行的《俄勒冈人报》已今不如昔。该报纸质版现在每周只发行四天,其余时间希望读者通过电子应用软件来阅读。(在报业如此萎缩的情况下),别说国际新闻,就连美国国内新闻,该报都报道不力,远不能满足哪怕只有一般知识背景的读者的需求。

格雷·库萨克

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