South Dakota Farmers Losing Millions Because Of Trade War

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The next time you drive through rural KELOLAND, take a look at all of the crops. 

Many of those are usually headed to China. 

China imported 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports last year. 

Now the country plans to put $50 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods, including soybeans. 

That could mean area farmers will lose millions of dollars.

“Now we’ve had excessive rain,” Kevin Scott said.

Scott lives near Valley Springs and hasn’t been able to get into his fields for a couple of weeks now. 

“We do have a farm that’s down by the river. That has been underwater. That will be a loss,” Scott said.

The weather isn’t the only thing that’s unpredictable in a farmer’s life. Right now they’re dealing with the worst farm economy in more than a decade. Couple that with the threat of tariffs.

“We don’t want a trade war. It seems like farmers are going to take it in the shorts with this one,” Scott said.

China says the tariffs on U.S. soybeans will take effect on July 6 if President Trump doesn’t change his mind about tariffs on their country. That would likely cost area farmers millions of dollars.

“We’ll see some real world impacts, and I’m very concerned about what those very real world impacts could be,” Republican U.S. Senator John Thune said.

Even though the tariffs haven’t taken effect yet, they’ve already impacted area farmers. How? The threat alone has caused a significant drop in markets.

“In fact, since March soybean prices have dropped about a dollar a bushel, which in South Dakota means about $225 million for our farmers,” Thune said.

Thune says he’s still trying to convince the administration to look at the consequences and try to minimize the negative affect on farmers. Thune has had several conversations with the president, his administration and other senators.

“Before some of these things take affect, we’re trying to convince the administration that they need to dial back some of what they’re doing and look at other ways of accomplishing their objectives without singling out or hitting our number one industry in South Dakota,” Thune said.

An industry that’s already struggling, but over the years, farmers like Scott, have learned to be optimistic even during unpredictable times.

“We’re just waiting for the sun. It will come. It will come,” Scott said.

If you’re not a farmer, you might not think this impacts you, but agriculture is still by far the number one industry in South Dakota. 

Often times when farmers take a hit, it has a ripple effect on the area’s economy.
 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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