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A farmer in Hastings, Minnesota. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

The personal income of farmers in the U.S. declined by an annualized $11.8 billion between January and March, the biggest 1st quarter drop in 3 years, Bloomberg reports, citing Commerce Department data released Monday.

The big picture: The drop is being driven primarily by the fallout from President Trump’s trade disputes, a nosedive in commodity prices and record flooding in the Midwest. As a result, farmer bankruptcies in the Midwest have shot up to levels the U.S. hasn't seen for approximately a decade.

  • Bloomberg reports that the Trump administration's $12 billion subsidy plan to aid farmers who have suffered major losses from the trade war had helped bolster farm income during the previous quarter, but that the one-time subsidies didn't do much in Q1.
  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Monday that he was "cautiously optimistic" about a U.S.-China trade deal and that the administration will know more in about 2 weeks.

Go deeper: America's farmers are living through the worst economic crisis in 30 years

Go deeper

Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of COVID-19 cases

Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. Photo: THIERRY ROGE/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Belgium is enforcing a strict lockdown starting Sunday amid rising coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and a surge of deaths, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Friday.

Why it matters: De Croo said the government saw no choice but to lock down "to ensure that our health care system does not collapse." Scientists and health officials said deaths have doubled every six days, per the Guardian.

23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Reid Hoffman launches $1M ad urging election patience

Screengrab of ad

Billionaire and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, one of Democrats' biggest donors, tells Axios he's launching a $1 million digital ad campaign in battleground states urging voters to be patient with election results and prepare for no winner to be known on Nov. 3, no matter what "some people" may prematurely declare via Twitter.

Driving the news: The three-minute ad, titled "We Count! A Patriotic Musical Extravaganza," features the voice of "The Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons and Broadway star Barrett Doss. The spot will appear on Facebook targeting voters in the swing states of Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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