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Ohio Soybean Farmers Denounce Tariffs

The Ohio Soybean Association denounced the White House’s decision to impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in Chinese products, which China has said it will answer with a retaliatory 25 percent tariff on imported U.S. soybeans. China purchases 61 percent of total U.S. soybean exports and more than 30 percent of overall U.S. soybean production. U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin collecting additional duties on designated Chinese goods July 6.

“We should address our trade challenges by increasing our competitiveness, not creating new barriers,” said Allen Armstrong, OSA president and Clark County soybean farmer. “Exports have been one of the few bright spots for farmers in recent years, and we can’t afford another hit to the bottom line.”

A study by The Ohio State University found the proposed tariffs could decrease a farm’s net worth by an estimated 6 percent and annual net income by 59 percent over a six-year period. According to a separate study conducted by Purdue University, total U.S. soybean production could decline by 15 percent.

“The collateral damage in this trade war will include not only Ohio grain farmers, but all Ohioans,” said Scott Metzger, OSA first vice president and Ross County soybean farmer. “Farm incomes are at multiyear lows, and this action will harm our state’s largest industry by undermining our top agricultural export.”

According to the Ohio Development Services Agency, Ohio’s $1.8 billion in soybean exports in 2017 accounted for more than 3.5 percent of all Ohio commodity exports. Ohio is the sixth largest producer of soybeans in the U.S., with 4.8 million acres planted in 2017 and more than 60 percent of the state’s entire soybean production exported to international markets. China imported $13.9 billion in U.S. soybeans in 2017, 61 percent of total U.S. soy exports.

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