Indiana farmers grow a lot of soybeans – and estimated 321 million bushels per year – and now they have good reason to be nervous.
China recently announced it may impose a stiff 25% import tariff on soybeans from the United States. The move is a reaction to the Trump Administration’s announcement of a number of tariffs it plans to level against Chinese goods.
If China follows through, the result may be millions of dollars in losses for Indiana soybean growers. Such losses would be devastating considering that many operators here are barely breaking even on their soybean sales today.
Ade Stevens is CEO of the Indiana Soybean Alliance. She said a 25% Chinese tariff could mean hundreds of Indiana farmers going bankrupt. They would not only lose their livelihoods, but some would wind up forfeiting land that has been in their families for generations.
Stevens said the tariff threat is coming at the worst possible time. Soybean farmers have been facing stiff headwinds in recent years, from low commodity prices to loss of production due to adverse weather.
There is still hope in farm country that the tariffs will never happen. Many believe cooler heads will prevail in China and among American trade negotiators. It’s still possible both sides will realize that a trade war is bad for everyone.
In the meantime, spring planting has already begun in Indiana. Millions of acres of soybeans are going in the ground. The question is, will there be a robust world market for the crop come harvest time.