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Tariff Talk Brings Economics Class to the Barn

Raising pigs is hard work. Depending on the market, all that hard work might not pay off.

Students in Seagoville High School's Future Farmers of America program learn real world lessons when they go to sell their livestock. "I refuse to eat pork after I slaughtered mine," joked freshman Keely Smith.

Smith said she might raise one more pig, but wouldn't do it for a living after her first experience selling a pig last month. Smith said she invested about $1,500 to raise "Crispy Bacon", only to be disappointed.

"I didn't get hardly any of that back," Smith explained. "Maybe $100 out of him, so it wasn't at all what it was worth."

For Smith, it was a loss towards college scholarships. For pork producers, the stakes are much higher.

"Gets more complicated every year," said Seagoville agriculture teacher, Gay Leigh Bingham. "Your feed prices are going up, your pork prices are going down. You always have to put a pencil to those types of things."

"Throwing something like tariff on top of that, especially on pork exports, we're gonna feel the cost of that," said Seagoville FFA teacher, Tracy Krueger. "They're gonna feel the pain."

Pork producers have to factor in a 25% tariff on exports to China; part of China's counter to President Trump's imposed tariffs.

For students considering a career in agriculture, it's an eye-opening look at economics and politics.

"It's a business," explained Bingham. "And we try to tell them if you can't be sustained, it's not sustainable agriculture."

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