Soybean farms feeling sting of trade war

Soybean farmers feel sting of trade war

Illinois farmers are starting to feel the sting of Chinese tariffs imposed on American soybean imports, but many are optimistic that this difficult time will lead to improvements in trade and the agriculture industry.

"We have obviously seen the soybean price drop, which is a concern for all farmers in central Illinois and I’m sure across the nation,” Sangamon County Farm Bureau President Phil Sidles said.

Since China imposed the tariffs, farmers have been feeling the effects.

"Anywhere from a dollar to $2 off what we would probably call a normal commodity price,” said Derek Martin, a seventh-generation farmer.

Since the tariffs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been paying farmers for their products, like soybeans.

"The bean payment was $1.62 on 50 percent of your bushels, so that comes to like 84 cents a bushel over your farm,” Martin said.

The tariffs and large harvest have caused farmers to make changes.

"Farmers have been forced to be more creative and more efficient on our farms and tighten our budgets," Martin said.

Although they’re struggling, many farmers believe this is going to lead to a better future.

"Look out for the next generation,” Sidles said. “I’m the third generation and I hope this is something we will see positive impacts out of for the fourth and fifth generation that come down the road."

"This is a positive step, hopefully, to increase fair trade across the world and when that happens, it makes our products more viable with bigger demand, which in turn spills back to us and profits the community,” Martin said. “It’s a trickle-down effect."

Sidles said he hopes a resolution to the trade dispute will be reached soon. He said for now, he’s staying optimistic.

Soybeans are one of Illinois’ biggest exports, with a large portion sold to China every year.

Pork farmers are also feeling similar effects after China enacted similar retaliatory tariffs on pork.

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