Farmers Brace for What’s Next as Soybean Sales to China Tank
In a typical harvesting season, the farmers cooperative near Lance Peterson’s west central Minnesota farm runs 13 trains full of soybeans to the West Coast for delivery to Asian markets, writes Jim Spencer on StarTribune.com. Each train contains 440,000 bushels of beans.
So far this year the co-op has run none.
Retaliatory tariffs that China placed on U.S. soybeans after President Donald Trump slapped protective tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports have cost U.S. soybean farmers their most reliable export market, driven down their incomes and could cost some their livelihood if the trade war between the world’s two largest economies continues, economists and bankers say.
Minnesota farmers exported $2.1 billion in soybeans in 2016, making them the state’s top export crop. But now many farmers cannot afford to sell because tariffs have driven the purchase price for soybeans so far below the break-even point of $9 a bushel.