Local soybean harvest underway, farmers see prices down due to trade war

Tariffs affecting local soybean farmers

CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Farmer Van Proctor put a lot of work into his soybean fields this year and it shows. “Quality looks good,” he said on Tuesday.

But the good quality is not translating into higher prices this year. The commodity price per bushel right now is $1.50 to $2.00 less than last year. “About a 20% drop,” said Proctor.

He and other soybean growers say it’s because of the trade situation with China. Tariffs imposed by China on farm goods in retaliation for US tariffs on steel and other products has resulted in fewer exports and that means supply is higher in soybeans and other crops too. That means lower prices paid to farmers.

Van had hoped he could hold out on harvest until prices went up but any more delay could affect the crop’s quality. So the combine started harvesting on Tuesday afternoon. Van’s dad, Junior Proctor, says the price does make it difficult for farmers who already have to battle the weather.

“Now we have government to deal with too,” he said. Even so, Junior says he believes what the President and others are doing could be good in the long term “I support everything they have done so far,” he said.

The problem in the past was stability in prices, he says, and why a better trade deal could help, he thinks. Still, farmers are being hurt by the lower prices and will continue to be, he says, until something can be worked out with China. He hopes it comes soon. “Farmers can’t take another year like this.

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