From the very start, President Donald Trump’s trade war was painful for American soybean farmers.
China’s tariffs immediately wiped out what was once their biggest export market, worth $12 billion in 2017. That was more than a year ago. Soybeans have since piled up in bins, sending the amount in storage up 108% in 12 months. The price per bushel has fallen to a 10-year low.
The situation looks bleak, and tariffs have hit other crops like corn and wheat, too. Many farmers have expressed frustration, and some have even said they no longer support the President. But farmers, a politically important group for Trump, are staying afloat — largely thanks to Trump’s bailout — and that’s keeping some on board with Trump’s trade war.
“At this point, we’ve gone this far, we want to make sure we get a good deal,” said Iowa farmer Grant Kimberley, who also serves as director of market development at the Iowa Soybean Association.
Like many others, Kimberley was able to sell most of his soybeans last year — but for a lower price. He just finished harvesting his soybeans this year, selling some and putting the rest in storage, waiting to see if prices go up. But with bills to pay, farmers can’t hold onto the crop forever.