Federal lawmakers say soybean farmers could face bankruptcy amid the ongoing trade war with China.
Soybean farmers across the country are in the middle of harvest and yields are high. But U.S. Farm Bureau economist Veronica Nigh says there’s a major problem.
“We’re starting to harvest this big crop and there’s no place to go with them because our exports to China have basically been cut off,” said Nigh.
China hit U.S. soy imports with a 25% tariff amid a ongoing trade war. The lost market is leading to a backlog of the crop at storage elevators along the Mississippi River.
Nigh said, “You’re now taking your crop to the elevator looking for a price and the elevator says no room at the inn.”
Louisiana Republican congressman Ralph Abraham sent a letter this week asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help farmers in his state.
“If these farmers don’t harvest these beans in the next week or two or three at the most, they could literally go bankrupt,” said Abraham.
There is a federal program designed to help farmers through trade disputes, but subsidies are based on receipts from storage facilities. Full elevators means no receipts and no help for farmers.
Nigh said, “Unfortunately we’re bracing for a long endeavor in this trade situation.”
Abraham is asking the USDA to change how the subsidy program works and help farmers find additional storage options. But China was a crucial customer importing 50% of the soy grown in the U.S.
As long as the trade war continues, experts say farmers will continue to suffer.