News: Missouri’s Rural Communities Stand to Lose with Tariffs, Trade War

The following statement may be attributed to C. Brooks Hurst, soybean farmer from Tarkio and president of the Missouri Soybean Association, and used as an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor. 

C. Brooks Hurst

Agriculture is a key driver for Missouri’s economy and soybean are Missouri’s top crop. China’s proposed 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybean stands to weaken the market for the roughly 30 percent of our soybean crop currently going to China.

In the few days since the proposal of the retaliatory tariffs, soybean prices have fallen $1.30 per bushel.

Missouri and U.S. farmers depend on the export market. Farmers have worked for decades through their checkoff to create meaningful relationships around the world, growing their export opportunities. Today, nearly six of every 10 rows of our soybean are exported.

According to a study conducted by Purdue University, soybean exports to China could drop dramatically if China chooses to impose a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans. The Purdue study projects China’s soybean imports from the U.S. would fall by 65 percent, total U.S. soy exports would drop by 37 percent, and U.S. soybean production would decline by 15 percent.

It stands to reason that when Missouri farmers are seeing lower prices for their crop, there could be fewer dollars in local communities, and fewer opportunities for local businesses and the more than 10 percent of Missourians relying on ag jobs for their livelihoods.