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Patience Is Waning For Iowa Farmers Impacted By Trade War

China announced Friday that it will not impose additional tariffs on imports of U.S. soybeans and pork.

China will exclude U.S. soybeans and pork from its latest round of tariffs, yet many Iowa farmers are concerned as the trade dispute continues to impact their bottom lines. 

David Differding and his wife Susan own Timeless Prairie Orchard, a small apple farm in Winthrop, Iowa. He says his business has lost tens of thousands of dollars as rising tariffs lead large-scale apple producers in Washington to flood the market with the lower priced produce they're unable to export.

Differding says farmers' patience is running out, which may show up in political opinion, and possibly even upcoming elections.

"This is business, and they have to realize that what they're doing to businesses across the United States and not just in Iowa is hurting everybody," Differding says. "And the markets that they've worked years to gain are not going to come back right away. And that's going to be the long term effect of what's happening."

Former Iowa Soybean Association President Lindsay Greiner, who owns a corn and soybean farm in Keota, has also seen trade tensions impacting his bottom line. Although he voted for Donald Trump in 2016, he's unsure who his vote will belong to in 2020. 

"We were looking at prices pre-trade war that were in the $10.00 to $11.00 per bushel range. And as soon as the trade war started, about over a two month period, we saw the soybean market drop by about $2.00 a bushel," Greiner says. "There's no doubt about it. We lost a lot of demand when this trade war started."

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer is joined by Differding, Greiner, and Iowa State University Crop Markets Specialist Chad Hart for a look at the growing impact and waning patience of Iowa farmers impacted by the trade war.

Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River