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Area soybean farmers frustrated as trade war with China continues

Local News

ORWELL, Ohio (WKBN) – When President Donald Trump tweeted about tariffs regarding the trade war with China in early May, soybean prices fell off a cliff. There have been some rebounds, but for the most part, farmers want the trade war to end along with a lasting treaty with China.

Since Trump’s tweet on May 8, a graph found on MarketsInsider.com at a 1M view shows that the price of soybeans has plummeted as the trade war with China heats up.

“We’ll see what happens next. Certainly, the tariffs don’t help our market when those newses are announced. We’re hoping they’ll get a trade deal that is a long-term fix,” said Jan Pemberton, a grain merchandiser.

That’s one thing farmers agree on — the trade situation with China needs to change.

“That should have been dealt with 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago. It’s being dealt with now but the American farmer is feeling the brunt,” said Jeff Magyar, a grain farmer.

And that’s not the only pressure area farmers are dealing with.

It will be weeks before their fields are planted and months before the harvest comes in. But already, area farmers say there’s not a lot to be hopeful about with this year’s harvest.

Too much rain means many farmers are late planting this year, and that’s putting them right up against crop insurance deadlines.

“Some people are starting to get nervous. Farmers can plant quick if they can get the right field conditions, but it seems like we aren’t able to get a forecast that doesn’t include rain for days,” Pemberton said.

Magyar snuck in 200 acres of planting last week. Now, he has to wait for the rest.

“If we can get an average crop, that’s the best we can hope for,” he said. “Between the weather, between uncertainty of knowing where the crop’s going to be, what the prices are right now, prices are below cost of production.”

And that means smaller farmers could be squeezed out of the industry.

According to the Washington Post, last year, Trump directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to spend $12 billion on programs to help American farmers affected by the trade war. White House officials are now working with GOP leaders to find a way to extend an additional $15 billion.

Not every farmer qualifies for crop insurance and tariff subsidies.

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