Crops are rotting in fields as Trump’s trade war bites US farmers

http://uk.businessinsider.com/us-china-trade-war-soybeans-left-rotting-thanks-to-lack-of-storage-2018-11



donald trump make farmers great again
US
farmers are struggling amid the global trade war. Here, US
President Donald Trump visited Peosta, Iowa, in
July.

Scott Olson/Getty
Images



  • American farmers are struggling to sell their products
    as tariffs introduced during the trade war between Washington
    and Beijing stifle demand.
  • In certain states, farmers are being forced into
    plowing their crops under — effectively burying them under soil
    in fields — as there is simply not enough storage room in
    storage facilities.
  • The problem is most acute for soybean farmers, as China
    generally buys about 60% of US soybeans but has basically
    stopped purchases since tariffs began.

American farmers are struggling to find storage for crops that
would usually be sold overseas, with some being forced to leave
produce rotting in fields as a last resort, as the trade conflict
between the US and China continues.

Farmers in some US states are being forced into plowing their
crops under — effectively burying them under soil in fields — as
there is not enough room to store them in storage facilities, and
they are unable to sell their products thanks to Chinese tariffs,

Reuters reported on Wednesday
.

All grain depots and silos are almost full, meaning farmers have
to find their own storage solutions or allow their crops to rot.
Neither option is particularly palatable.

The problem is most acute for soybean farmers. China is the
largest importer of soybeans in the world, but since the start of
the trade war it has slapped US soybeans with a 25% tariff and

turned to Brazil in an attempt to meet domestic demand
.

Chinese purchases generally make up about 60% of all US soybean
exports, but those exports have practically stopped since the
tariffs were introduced.

In Louisiana, as much as 15% of this year’s soybean crop has been
plowed under or is too damaged to sell, according to data
analyzed by Louisiana State University staff and cited by
Reuters.


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xi trump point laugh
Chinese
President Xi Jinping and Trump in Beijing in November
2017.

Thomas
Peter/Getty


The Trump administration has started a program of subsidies meant
to lessen the impact of his trade war on US agriculture.

In August,
the administration launched a $4.7 billion initial investment
plan
aimed at helping those farming corn, cotton, dairy, hog,
sorghum, soybean, and wheat.

The program could expand to as much as $12 billion. But according
to Reuters, less than $900 million has been paid out so far.


Tensions between the two sides appear to be waning
, with the
US signaling a more conciliatory stance when it comes to tariffs.
President Donald Trump has reportedly sidelined some of his most
aggressively anti-China team members, with Peter Navarro, an
uber-protectionist trade adviser, among those given a back seat.

The most significant sign that the US and China might actually
come to some agreement came last week after reports surfaced that
Beijing sent a letter to the Trump administration outlining
possible concessions.

So far, the US and China have traded tit-for-tat tariffs on goods
totaling $360 billion, with the US acting as the aggressor, and
Trump threatening numerous times to place tariffs on all US
imports from China,
worth about $500 billion
.