Farmers react to trade war with China: "It's a huge deal for us"

U.S. farmers say they are nervous as the trade war with China ramps up. It's causing the price of soybeans to drop now and could have a lasting impact on family farms.

Posted: Jul. 10, 2018 10:43 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - U.S. farmers say they are nervous as the trade war with China ramps up. It's causing the price of soybeans to drop now and could have a lasting impact on family farms.


As Vigo county farmer Brad Burbrink minds his hogs at the county fair he is also thinking about his fields.

"When we're taking beans from ten dollars down to eight dollars a bushel, that's a pretty big hit."

Burbrink grows corn and soybeans south of Terre Haute. He says it has been a good season so far but he wants one more good shower before harvest.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers have been growing more soybeans in recent years. More than four million bushels of soybeans were produced last year.

Late last week the United States hit China with tariffs on thirty-four billion dollars worth of imports. China is striking back and hitting farmers where it hurts by imposing tariffs on soybeans.

Burbrink says, "It's a huge deal for us, Indiana farmers and also American farmers with every third soybean leaving the ports and going across the seas, it's a big concern to us and we're seeing that reflection in the markets today."

Soybean prices have been falling the past two month. It's all over what U.S. leaders call unfair trade practices.

Burbrink says soybean farmers have lost twenty-five percent of the market.

"That means zero profitability on the farms in Vigo, Clay and surrounding counties. When you take twenty-five percent out of a tight budget anyway it's going to really hurt."

Burbrink agrees something must be done to "level the playing field" between countries. He thinks dealing with the repercussions is a sacrifice farmers with have to make for the nation.

"To make America better we've got to stand up for ourselves and this is one of those we're going to have to tough our way through."

China cannot grow enough to meet it's needs but could encourage farmers there to produce more through incentives. China could also take business to Brazil, the second largest exporter of soybeans.

This could have a lasting impact on American farmers because it could be difficult to get business back if and when the trade war is over and a deal is reached.

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