US-China trade war impacts Heartland farmers

Tariff impact on farmers

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - On May 13, China made good on its threat to raise taxes on $60 billion worth of U.S. imports.

It’s retaliation for the Trump administration raising tariffs on Chinese goods after trade talks fell through on Friday, May 10th.

The new tariffs announced by China take effect next month and will impact around 5,000 items, including crops grown right here in the Heartland.

Barry Bean grows cotton, soybeans, rice and more on his fourth-generation family farm in Peach Orchard, Missouri.

"Just in the last week, we’ve seen our cotton prices drop another ten cents. We’ve gone from 76 cents a pound to 66 cents a pound,” he said.

Bean says right now prices for cotton, soybeans, and rice are at or below the cost of production.

"I ordinarily by this time of year would have sold a substantial amount of cotton to China. We’ve not sold out first bale of Missouri cotton to China this year,” he said.

Bean said it’s about the long-term impacts on farmers too, especially their relationship with China.

“It’s like when you leave a restaurant because you’ve got bad service,” he said. “Well maybe they’ve fixed the problem. But you’ve got a new restaurant that you like. So, it’s really hard to get that business back once you lose it.”

Congressman Jason Smith says U.S. farmers need a level playing field.

"It is the Chinese that are putting these tariffs on our Ag commodities. Hopefully they will come to the table,” he said. “When I talked to President Trump about the trade wars that’s going on, he said I will deliver for the farmers. I will make sure we have the best agreements.”

"The prices are too low, and so we’re planting a crop on faith,” Bean said.

Bean calls this planting season a matter of survival.

"It’s tough and you have to seriously look at so what about getting out a farming. I mean those are the decisions that people have to make when it gets to this level,” he said.

President Trump says his next meeting with China’s president will be next month at the G-20 summit in japan.

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