Economic Development

Ohio Soybean Farmers Call for End to Trade War

WORTHINGTON, Ohio – The ongoing escalation of the trade war between the United States 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%, according to the Ohio Soybean Association.

Soybean prices are at a 10-year low. China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans and is now buying them from other nations.

“This is simply unacceptable,” said Scott Metzger, president of the association and a soybean farmer in Ross County. “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 United States 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, association 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.”

The Ohio Soybean Association and its national affiliate, the American Soybean Association, say they support the Trump administration’s overall goal of negotiating with China to achieve structural changes to the way it conducts trade business. But they 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,” said Metzger. “Farmers and the rural economy are not winning right now.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.