Miss. farmers remain hopeful that a deal will be reached in the US-China trade war

Updated: Dec. 11, 2019 at 7:44 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - An update to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war we’ve been following since last year. China is starting to buy more U.S. soybeans but farmers say they won’t rest until they see a new trade deal confirmed.

Christmas could come early for those soybean farmers if a trade deal gets done with China soon. China first imposed the tariffs on U.S. soybeans in the summer of 2018. Farmer Danny Murphy says the latest update is adding a little optimism on top of a lot of frustration.

“I imagine most farmers are like me, they’re just kind of in limbo just waiting to see what happens,” said Murphy.

And a deal would make a difference for his bottom line.

“Prices were already low when this started and they continue to trend down," noted Murphy. "China was our largest trading partner for soybeans.”

The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President explains just how much of a hit farmers like Murphy are taking.

“We lost about 20-25 percent of our market since the tariffs have been instituted," explained Mike McCormick. "So, we’re looking forward to the end of this trade dispute and getting a market we can rely on.”

As for this year’s crop of soybeans, a lot of them haven’t been exported.

“They’re pretty much in grain bins," McCormick said. "A lot of our guys are hoping to see better markets. Because a lot of those soybeans and corn that are in the bins or in the farm storage are there right now at a loss for last year.”

Murphy is among those waiting.

“I talked about holding onto some of my soybeans," added Murphy. "You get your hopes up and you think well if they sign a trade deal soybeans will go up 50 cents or a dollar and you hate to sign today and they sign a deal the 15th and they go up.”

Mississippi has sought alternate trade deals with countries like Taiwan but Murphy says it’s not enough to fully make up for not trading with China.

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