The Star Beacon
by Jon Wysochanski

Local farmers say they are feeling the effects the trade war with China.

While some wonder if the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese goods and the Chinese government’s retaliatory tariffs on soybeans will spark long-term consequences, others aren’t so sure the tariffs are entirely to blame for the current market.

The tariffs have resulted in a decline in soybean exports to China and a drop in the price paid for a bushel of soybeans. As of Nov. 1 there has been a more than 90 percent drop in sales and exports of soybeans to China as compared to last year, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture.

The co-op

In May, farmers in Ashtabula County could get about $9.80 per bushel from Centerra Co-Op, which has several locations throughout the county, and on Friday the price was about $7.90. There have been several tariffs imposed over the past year, said Jean Bratton, Centerra CEO, and the price of soybeans has been on a decline throughout the year.

An almost $2 decline per bushel is the difference between profitability and loss, Bratton said. Farmers across the Midwest are letting soybeans pile up, some hoping the trade war ends before those beans rot.

“We have been impacted just as much as anywhere nationally,” Bratton said of Ashtabula County.

Centerra pre-sold beans going into harvest in anticipation of potential problems, Bratton said. Centerra sells to third parties who broker to others, and Bratton said the co-op is sticking to its contracts. Read More>>