The ongoing escalation of the trade war between the U.S. and China is threatening the livelihood of Ohio soybean farmers. Since tariffs were put in place last year, soybean prices have dropped 20 to 25%. The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has been fighting against the use of tariffs from the beginning because farmers want to be able to compete in a free market. When they do, they thrive.
“This is simply unacceptable,” said Scott Metzger, OSA president and Ross County soybean farmer. “We understand the reasons for bringing China to the negotiating table to address technology transfer and intellectual property issues. However, there are other tactics that can be used to accomplish that without harming farmers and our rural economies.”
On May 10, the U.S. increased tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, from 10 to 25%. It is also taking steps for an additional 25% tariff on the remaining $325 billion in annual imports from China. China recently announced its plans to retaliate.
“Farmers have been patient and supportive,” said Ryan Rhoades, OSA vice president and farmer from Marion County. “That patience is wearing very thin. These are not hypothetical losses we’re talking about, this is real. This is our livelihood and how we support our families, and the ripple effect is going to touch all of rural America.”
OSA and its national affiliate, the American Soybean Association (ASA), continue to support the Administration’s overall goal of negotiating with China to achieve structural changes to the way it conducts trade business. OSA and ASA cannot support the use of tariffs as a tactic to achieve that goal.
“We ask the Administration to end this back and forth escalation of tariffs and pursue other options,” Metzger said. “Farmers and the rural economy are not winning right now.”