It has been a little over one year since the Trade War with China began. Everyone seems to agree that China has been a "bad actor" and has engaged in unfair trade practices and stealing intellectual property rights. The disagreement is what to do about it? President Trump decided to put import tariffs on many products made in China and imported into the U.S. So, the Trade War was begun and it seemed like U.S. farmers have been caught in the 'crossfire."

China has been our largest export market for beans. The new marketing year for corn and soybeans began on September 1, 2019. Since the new year began China has purchased 1.6 million metric tons of beans from the U.S. Last year at this time China had purchased 1.41 million metric tons of beans from the U.S. Yes, this year China has bought more U.S. beans than last year even with the trade war and tariffs!

In addition pork exports to China have increased dramatically because of African Swine Fever. There are reports China has lost 30 to 40 percent of their pigs because of African Swine Fever. China had more pigs than the rest of the world combined. All those pigs dying will decrease the demand for soybeans but it sure has increased the demand for U.S. Pork.

My point is maybe the Trade War has not been quite as bad as many analysts predicted? There are more than one billion people in China and they want to eat! However, the beans China is buying from the U.S. are at a lower price and that lower price was absorbed by farmers. The Trump Administration developed the Market Facilitation Program providing direct payments to farmers which really helps offset the lower prices caused by the Trade War. It sure would be nice though if we could get an agreement with China and put all this behind us!


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