ARK SOYBEAN FARMERS - Arkansas Soy Bean Farmers have had it tough lately as the price per bushel of soybeans has dropped about 25% due to the retaliatory tariffs by the Chinese in response to the Trump Administrations tariffs on imported products from China.
To get some idea what farmers face from all this market disruption, you have to understand how their business model works. Brad Doyle, who grows soybeans in Weiner, Arkansas shared a little of his world with Arkansas Public Media:
“Most farmers start their crop with a loan, and they have to pay that back at the end of the year," explained Doyle. " So when we started this year, we started with the intention or the thought that our soybeans were going to be worth quite a bit more than they are right now.”
Doyle says that a bushel of his soybeans that would normally sell for $10 now has a commodity market value of $8 thanks to the Chinese tit-for-tat tariffs due which effectively closes the soybean market to China for American farmers. But farmers will receive some partial relief in the form of a $12 billion dollar aid package by the federal government to help farmers recoup some of their losses.
But billions of dollars in promised aid isn’t welcome news to Josh Sewell, a senior policy analyst with the group: Taxpayers for Common Sense.
“The devil’s going to be in the details, " Sewell said. "But we think this is a step back in moving agriculture away from dependency upon Washington for success or failure instead moving towards market.”
While the government’s $12 billion dollar relief package may allow some farmers to stay in business, Arkansas soybean farmer Brad Doyle says everyone in his business prefers a longer-term solution… and for the moment is hoping his losses can be recouped by focusing on other potential markets.
Doyle said "In the meanwhile, we're going to have to go to Japan, and Viet Nam, and Indonesia, Malayasia; countries like that and to make up for the loss right now."
The US Dept of Agriculture has forecast that domestic farm income will probably drop to about half of what it was five years ago… and that report came out well before the trade war began.