Chinese tariffs have impact on some local farmers

Published: Jul. 13, 2018 at 11:12 PM CDT
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The impact of the U.S.-China trade war can be felt in Kansas. There's already been a sharp price decrease for certain products and soybean farmers are one group impacted.

Neal Beam grows soybeans, wheat and corn on his family's farm near McPherson.

"Our family started farming in probably the late 1800s, so I'm the fifth generation that farms," he says.

He says corn and wheat aren't affected by the Chinese tariffs, but there is an impact with soybeans.

At Beam Farms, soybeans are the main crop, noteworthy as China imported one-third of its soybeans from the U.S.

"It's frustrating when a commodity you raise is affected because of a political position on rural trade," Beam says.

He says the impact of the tariffs was felt before they went into effect.

"The soybean prices have dropped over 20 percent since the talk of these tariffs began," Beam says. "That would be an almost $150-per-acre drop in revenue."

Beam Farms will harvest its soybeans this fall, but then decide what to do next year.

"The drop in soybeans will make us look at what our cropping plans will be for the next year, and if soybeans drop consistently more than corn, we will be moving our acres away from soybeans."

A report from the USDA Thursday showed as of the first week of July, soybean export commitments were already down eight million tons compared to last year.