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Wisconsin farmers could lose big as China stops purchasing ag products

Chippewa Valley (WQOW) – In a blow to farmers across the nation, China announced Monday it plans to stop buying United States agriculture products.

This will be especially painful for Wisconsin soybean farmers. China is the industry’s biggest buyer, importing 14.3 million tons of U.S. soybeans in 2018, according to the president of the Wisconsin Soybean Association. That’s down from 32.9 million in 2017.

For an industry already struggling with the trade war, experts say the announcement is a big disappointment.

“As each day, each week and each month passes that we don’t have a trade deal with China, the future looks less and less promising,” said Tony Mellenthin, president of the Wisconsin Soybean Association. “We know there’s demand for our soybeans, but when you lose a market that has taken a third of your soybeans, you know just very simply, there’s no combination of markets in the world today that can replace the Chinese market for American soybeans.”

For those farmers that are impacted, another official wants to make sure people realize farmers don’t want the government’s money.

“All farmers, they just want a trade deal done. They don’t like taking these dollars. Obviously they will, because if they don’t take it, their neighbor will and then they’ll be out of business. I know farmers want more than anything to have a fair and free trade option done,” said Shawn Conley, a soybean specialist at UW-Madison.

Right now, soybean prices are at their lowest prices since June 12, prompted by the ongoing trade war with China.


McKenna Alexander

McKenna Alexander is the weekend anchor and a multimedia journalist for News 18. She started in June 2019. She was born in San Francisco, but spent the majority of her life growing up in Dallas.

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