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American soybean farmers still burdened by tariffs a year later

Source: Wikimedia Commons

United States soybean exports fell victim to retaliatory tariffs a year ago Saturday.

An Iowa soybean grower reflects on troubles of the past year.

Oftentimes, anniversaries elicit reason to celebrate. However, American soybean farmers did not “pop the bubbly,” as they reflected on China’s decision to impose a 25-percent tariff on United States soy exports one year ago. Iowa soybean farmer and American Soybean Association chairman John Heisdorffer reflects on the somber occasion. 

“It’s not one of the anniversaries I was looking forward too, by any means,” Heisdorffer said. “When it started, I thought: ‘Maybe three months and by fall we’ll have this settled.’ Now we’ve gone a whole year, and I don’t know that we’re much closer than we were when we started.”

U.S. soybean prices have since declined, adding to the uncertainty of farming. Heisdorffer reiterates the importance of trade, as U.S. farmers and ranchers overcome a challenging growing season and look to replace lost markets.

“We have crops growing here (and) we still have a large stock of soybeans left from last year that our country needs to get rid of. Even though we’ve picked up a few new markets and increased older ones, they still don’t come (close) to what China alone takes from us,” Heisdorffer said.

Ongoing negotiations keep farmers, like Heisdorffer, optimistic.

“The only thing optimistic is we keep talking,” Heisdorffer said. “I thought that was going to shut off, but it sounds like we got negotiations going again. As long as the two countries keep talking, I think there’s a way to the end. I hope that comes sooner (rather) than later.”