Farmers from across the nation gathered in Orlando, Florida last week for the annual Commodity Classic, a convention of corn, soybean, wheat, and grain sorghum growers, along with the Equipment Manufacturers Association, with talk focusing on trade tariffs.
The predominant talk at last week’s Commodity Classic focused on the trade tariffs. Lindsey Greiner of Keota, Iowa, serves as the president of the Iowa Soybean Association. He says farmers are wondering how long the trade war will continue?
“You can’t go anywhere, where people are talking about trade, and especially about China,” Greiner said. “And its a concern to farmers. You know, some days you get good news, what you think is good news, and then the next day, well they had an impasse and things aren’t going so good. And you talk about it. We do need good news, and some of it is, but we need verification that this good news is really true. People wondered last week, you know, or two weeks ago when China had announced they were going to buy another 10 million tons of beans and they wondered why the market didn’t react? And I think there’s some skepticism that you might see a reaction to these markets when you see these beans loaded on a boat and headed that way.”
Greiner says farmers are wondering if the U.S. will be able to recapture the Chinese market share, they once enjoyed, after the trade tariffs are lifted?
“We’ve spent 30 years building relationships with the Chinese. And we were selling them a lot of beans, you know 35…36 million tons a year. Up to this point in this marketing year, you know, we may have sold them about three million…three million tons, so that is a dramatic drop.”
The Iowa Soybean Association president says soybean officials are planning a return trip to China to hopefully solidify relations.
“One of our concerns is when this trade dispute is resolved, and it will be sometime. I don’t know when,” said Greiner. “Will we capture that share of the market back all at once? And there’s a little concern as to whether we will or not. Now, I will tell you that we (Iowa Soybean Association officials) will be leaving on the 24th of March to go to China and spend a week over there, and we’re going to be talking with some of the largest soybean purchasers in China. And I’m going to be really interested to see what they have got to say about when the trade dispute is resolved, what their buying habits will be at that point.”
Greiner says he wonders if South American nations such as Brazil and Argentina will increase their soybean acres in anticipation of an expanding soybean trade with China.