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Impact of tariffs on local farmers

China is firing back in the ongoing trade dispute with the United States.

Posted: Apr. 4, 2018 6:47 PM
Updated: Apr. 4, 2018 9:52 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — China is firing back in the ongoing trade dispute with the United States.

The Chinese government put tariffs on 106 more U.S. products. Those tariffs will have a local impact. Pork was on the original list of Chinese tariffs and soybeans were added to the list Tuesday.

When John Haan heard the announcement of tariffs on soybeans, he didn't think about himself.


"The younger farmers that got a big debt load, they are buying equipment and got to make every acre count," said Haan. 

As an established farmer, closer to retirement Haan's equipment is mostly paid for. But farming soybeans is still how he makes a living.

"If we get a tariff on and it goes down to $9 a bushel and that might be the top price that we happen to get, well that is $60 an acre that we won't receive," said Haan. 

Purdue agricultural economist Chris Hurt said soybeans are the most important trade the U.S. has with China.

"They cannot replace the soybeans we ship them," said Hurt. 

62% of all U.S. soybean exports go to China, tariffs could mean an economic loss of $1-$3 billion, a year.

"We're kind of hoping it will be short lived," said farmer Roger Verhey. 

Hog farmers like Verhey have reason to be concerned too.

"It's kind of a trickle effect. I'm kind of hoping that, you know, the packers are going to have to deal with that first," said Verhey. 

Pork is another product on China's list.

"What that essentially does is makes U.S. pork as it enters China higher prices than our competitors," said Hurt. 

Last year, U.S. hog producers exported $1.1 billion in pork to China. Statewide we could see a $25-$50 million loss.

In our surrounding counties, a $6-$12 million impact.

"We'll probably lose almost all of the business to China," said Hurt. 

So how will this affect farmers locally?

"You go out to lunch and you meet some other farmers at lunch and the conversation has come up," said Haan. 

Eventually it will mean less money and fewer jobs.

The start date for the tariffs has not been announced, the Chinese government said the tariffs are designed to target up to $50 billion of U.S. products a year.

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