Soybean Farmers Now Really In The Crosshairs Of Trump’s Policies

From the time Donald Trump announced his unilateral imposition of tariffs on products coming from China through China’s imposition of strategically aimed retalliation it has in some ways resembled a couple of old men playing a bluffing game. Certainly many felt that when the crop started to come in negotiations would move along and the bluffing would end.

Well, things are now getting real. Soybean crops are for the most part in. Prices are near an all time low and even at that there are no buyers. The President of the United States pissed off our best customer and they quit buying. Beans are a commodity that won’t last forever, and if there are no immediate customers they must be stored.  

From a Reuters story on the soybean situation:  

Across the United States, grain farmers are plowing under crops, leaving them to rot or piling them on the ground, in hopes of better prices next year, according to interviews with more than two dozen farmers, academic researchers and farm lenders. It’s one of the results, they say, of a U.S. trade war with China that has sharply hurt export demand and swamped storage facilities with excess grain.


U.S. farmers planted 89.1 million acres of soybeans this year, the second most ever, expecting China’s rising demand to give them better returns than other bulk crops.

But Beijing slapped a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans in retaliation for duties imposed by Washington on Chinese exports. That effectively shut down U.S. soybean exports to China, worth around $12 billion last year. China typically takes around 60 percent of U.S. supplies.


Farmers are feeling the pinch (for storage). Those in central Illinois could pay up to 40 percent more than in previous years to store crops over the coming weeks, agricultural consultant Matt Bennett estimated.”

The President picked a fight. Like so many wars recently, the one picking the fight is not the one who fights the fight. Farmers particularly in Iowa and the midwest could be greatly harmed in this “war” while the one who started the fight skates off, consequence free. 

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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5 Responses to Soybean Farmers Now Really In The Crosshairs Of Trump’s Policies

  1. Anne Duncan says:

    May I gently point out that according to what I’ve read over the years, the majority of farmers vote Republican? And I’d be willing to bet that well over half the farmers in Iowa voted for Trump. There is also the Iowa Farm Bureau, supported by farmers, with policies made by farmers, and the IFB most definitely favors Republicans, especially when the IFB selects their *cough* “Friends of Agriculture.” And I won’t even get into the role that some farm organizations play in keeping Iowa’s water dirty, Iowa’s soil eroding, Iowa’s biodiversity disappearing, and Iowa’s public conservation acres limited.

    I do seriously sympathize with the (unfortunately limited number of) conservation-active, truly-sustainably-minded, politically-progressive farmers out there. They are indeed legitimate victims in this situation.

    As for other Iowa farmers, they are largely reaping what they sowed and can look for sympathy elsewhere. If they even want sympathy. I’ve seen media interviews over the past few months in which rowcrop farmers still sing the praises of President Trump and say they are willing to keep waiting because his great trade policies will be worth it in the end.

    And I’d bet good money that many other Iowans feel the same way I do, though most of us keep quiet about it in public, especially elected officials.


    • Dave Bradley says:

      I agree, Anne. I was merely trying to point out that with the harvest completed we have crossed a major marker in Trump’s policies. We are now dealing with the actual commodity no longer a future possibility, but a real commodity that is ready to sell.
      With Trump’s economic plan being made of platitudes he heard on Fox and little to do with reality I fear this is the second real step toward a major economic crisis that will engulf all of us. The first step was the insane tax cuts that are coming up on their first anniversary.

      Thanks for the input and I agree that many Iowans probably have thoughts similar to yours and mine.


      • Anne Duncan says:

        Dave, thank you, and rereading my comment, I see it was overly crotchety, sorry. You are right, of course. And the economic impacts of the huge soybean problems will affect all of us in Iowa. And as you pointed out, the most accurate word may turn out to be not “affect,” but “engulf.”

        I read a story pointing out that in Illinois, and possibly in Iowa too, soybeans are being stored in every possible location, including caves, but that beans don’t store as well as corn. And of course as China switches to other countries to buy beans, there is no guarantee those buying arrangements won’t become permanent.


      • Dave Bradley says:

        Yep – if this corner of our economy fails it could start an unstoppable tumble. Trump and his advisors are so incompetent that they could take a scratch and turn it into a killing infection. I have been afraid if the Chinese boycott got to this point there may be no way out.


  2. Anne Duncan says:

    As one more observation on Iowa farm politics, I wish the mainstream media here would provide more information on what other states are doing to reduce farm pollution. In Minnesota, farmers are being required to install buffer strips along streams, rivers, and ditches. One Minnesota state legislator compared the buffer strip law with the ban on smoking in bars, and added that businesses, meaning bars and farmers, should not be paid to comply with necessary public health regulations. That kind of statement would be political suicide in Iowa.


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