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Trade dispute with China concerns Ohio soybean farmers

MARION, OH (WCMH) -- The ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China is becoming a growing concern for many of Ohio’s soybean farmers.

Soybeans are Ohio’s biggest agricultural export, according to the Ohio Soybean Association.

The crop is among the 106 imports on which the Chinese government has proposed implementing a 25 percent tariff, as a result of the United States’ tariff proposals.

“When the news hit that the tariffs may be implemented here in approximately two months, there was a 40 cent drop in the market price, which for soybean farmers is about $100 million, across the United States,” said Ryan Rhoades, a Marion County soybean farmer.

According to Rhoades, the possible tariff could impact his bottom line and result in a trickle-down effect beyond his farm.

“That’s less equipment we could possibly buy, collectively as farmers,” he explained. “That’s going to have an effect not just for farmers, but for our economy here in the state and for the nation.”

Rhoades said he sent emails to Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown on Thursday, urging them to address the trade issues with China.

On Friday, NBC4 reached out to the offices of both congressmen.

As of this writing, Portman had not issued a response.

Brown issued the following statement:

China cheats - that's what these tariffs are all about. So it's no surprise they're playing dirty when we try to enforce the rules and we need to support industries that are hurt, including Ohio soybean farmers. But we can't be bullied out of standing up for American jobs by China's threats. We should use these tariffs to force China to the negotiating table and secure changes that benefit all US industries.

Rhoades said he plans to watch the developments in Washington closely, as he hopes to plant this season’s seed in the coming week.

“I’m nervous,” he said. “I’m not ready to hit the panic button just yet, but in two months if these things become permanent, it could hurt. It could really hurt.”


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