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soybeans

If you're caught in a trade war, it's good to be a farmer.

Lots of American companies have lost sales since the Trump administration and China embarked on the current cycle of tariff-raising and retaliation. Few, if any, have been compensated as handsomely as farmers.

Bret Davis in one of his corn fields. He worries this years slow start could put a ceiling on yields.
Nick Evans / WOSU

The last time I visited Bret Davis' farm in Delaware County, earlier in the spring, I was asking him about a federal program helping farmers bit by the trade war. It was raining then, and it was wet and rainy when I spoke to him this week, too.

The Trump administration is preparing a new list of $300 billion worth of Chinese imports that would be hit with tariffs of up to 25%, after China retaliated Monday in the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Bret Davis looking out on his fields during a rain storm.
Nick Evans / WOSU

Bret Davis leans against a work bench at a farm north of Delaware. He and his partners are casting about, trying to stay busy while the rain keeps them from planting.

U.S. and Chinese officials have begun talks aimed at ending the trade war that has imposed hundreds of billions of dollars in tariffs over the past year. The U.S. is seeking concessions in Chinese business practices; in exchange it will eliminate tariffs recently imposed on Chinese goods.

It was a wild ride for Ohio farmers this year. President Trump’s trade war with China cut off exports for many farmers, and it’s affecting their plans for 2019.

After President Trump announced tariffs on Chinese steel this spring, China retaliated with a 25 percent tariff on American soybeans and other agricultural products. Medina County farmer Tom Trout says the export market for soybeans completely dried up and prices dropped.

“You give the market what it wants, and right now it’s telling us it does not want more soybeans,” Trout said.  

Wikipedia

Chinese buyers can purchase soybeans from U.S. and South American producers for about the same price—even with retaliatory tariffs placed on American beans. So why are U.S. sales lagging behind?

In this week's Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast, Mike Thompson and Steve Brown are joined by special guest Ann Fisher to discuss how the gubernatorial candidates are pushing an economic message in the final days of the campaign. This episode was recorded live at the John Glenn College of Public Affairs Leadership Forum.

Google Commons

It’s a rare event for a great growing season to stress out a farmer, but that’s exactly what’s happening across much of Ohio. This fall has brought a harvest that’s huge on yields but short on buyers.

Nick Evans / WOSU

In the middle of a corn field, pathways with names like "beef," "swine" and "wool" stretch off into the distance, lined with tents hocking everything from new gadgets to heavy machinery. The Farm Science Review has a county fair type atmosphere, but it emphasizes education.

Farmers usually show up with questions about best practices for pesticides or to shop around for new equipment. But this year, talk of tariffs mixes with tractors.

U.S. Trade Policy and NAFTA

Aug 29, 2018
Wikipedia

As the U.S. continues to wage a trade war with China, the Trump Administration is turning its attention to trade policy with Mexico.

The Department of Agriculture will pay $4.7 billion to farmers growing soybeans, cotton and other products hit by tariffs in the Trump administration's hard-line trade war with China, announcing the first batch of payments from a $12 billion government aid package.

Starting next Tuesday, the agency will take applications from farmers who produce corn, cotton, dairy, hogs, sorghum, soybeans and wheat — products that were targeted in China's retaliatory tariffs, after the U.S. imposed a 25 percent levy on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports.

The Trump administration is coming to the aid of farmers hurt by its own hard-line trade policies, announcing Tuesday that it will make an estimated $12 billion in government assistance available, including direct payments to growers.

The money comes after farmers, especially soybean growers, have felt the brunt of retaliatory tariffs placed on agriculture by China and other nations that the Trump administration has penalized with tariffs on imports.

The order came in April. China's government instructed farmers in the country's northeastern breadbasket region to grow more soybeans, calling it "a political priority."

But soybean fields lay empty in the village of Sandaogou, which means "Three Ditches," in Liaoning province. It has been a dry spring.

"We've had a drought this year, so we planted soybeans late. The seedlings should be out by now. We need more rain," says farmer Liu, who only gives her surname for fear of trouble with local authorities. Soy, after all, has become "political."

Flickr.com

An Ohio State study finds that some Ohio farmers could lose more than half of their annual income if a threatened 25 percent tariff goes into effect on soybeans and corn sent to China.

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