'Hey, this is real:' Local farmers discuss impact of soybean tariffs

(Credit: KMOV)

The price of a bushel of soybeans slipped further and has dropped 13 percent since the beginning of the year.

News 4 spoke to soybean farmers who said the uncertainty of what will happen in the escalating trade war has them losing sleep.

“What do I do if there's a probability I can't sell these soybeans? What do I do if there's a probability I'm going to get a third of what I got last year?” said Daniel Fournie of Fournie Farms near Collinsville.

Farmers in the US sell about a third of their soybean crops to China. The trade tensions between the world's two largest economies are leading to what Fournie calls a scary situation.

“To show you how important soybeans are to our area, consider that when it comes to soybean production Missouri ranks sixth in the country. Illinois, it comes in at the number one spot,” Fournie said.

In Northern Illinois, John Kiefner said his worst fear is coming true with the tariffs.

“The price of soybeans is as low as we've seen in years, yet the price of gasoline is going up, the price of our seed is going up, the price of machinery is going up,” Kiefner said.

Virginia McGathey, a senior analyst at the Chicago Board of Trade said damage will be widespread.

“It's difficult to say how long the damage is going to affect us and the longer that it goes on, we are going to see a ripple effect of devastation,” McGathey said.

Fournie said people need to know how serious the issue is and that they should talk to lawmakers.

“To anybody you possibly can, talk to and tell them, ‘Hey, this is real,’” Fournie said.

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