Trade wars start to impact U.S. soybean market

On July 7, the U.S. government placed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports. China responded swiftly, adding $16 billion worth of tariffs on U.S. imports, which are scheduled to take effect over the next two weeks.

According to the American Soybean Association (ASA), in 2017, China was overwhelmingly the world’s largest U.S. soybean importer, accounting for over 60% of U.S. soybean exports. To put that in perspective, about one out of every three rows of soybeans in the U.S. is exported and sold to China, according to Fox News.

The ASA, which represents over 300,000 soybean farmers throughout the United States, noted a $6 billion price drop from last year’s soybean price for this year’s yet-to-be-harvested crop.

For most soybean farmers, well into the growing season, it’s too late to switch to another crop. As a result, the trade war may take a serious toll on soybean farmers’ bottom lines.

South Dakota soybean farmer and ASA board of directors member, Brandon Wipf, says that many growers around the country may need to come up with another strategy. He told Fox News that next year, if farmers are forced to switch crops, the market will face further issues.

“If everybody switches to plant corn, for instance, well what do you think the price of corn is going to do?” he said. “It’s going to tank.”

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