North Dakota farmers hanging on through new round of tariffs, deal 'has to get done'

Published: May. 17, 2019 at 6:06 PM CDT
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A new round of tariffs between the U.S. and China won't have an immediate effect on North Dakota ag producers. In fact in the last week, corn prices are up 30 cents, and soybeans are up more than 10 cents because weather is delaying some planting.

But the recent boost won't last forever.

As more crops get in the ground, the pressure mounts for a trade deal to get done. Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring says it has to happen soon.

"We're going to have a mass exodus forced or voluntary this fall if things don't change in the market. Something's got to change,” said Goehring.

Bad weather delayed planting, bumping prices 30 cents in the last week for corn, more than 10 cents for soybeans. The most recent batch of tariffs won't sink the prices, yet.

"The new tariffs that China does is more on technology and other issues ,so when it comes to the ag sector, it's old news. What the market's looking for new every day is there a deal,” said Eugene Graner, Heartland Investor Services.

Absent a deal, the best thing farmers can hope for is a weak dollar, countering what Wall street needs.

"The dollar comes down, we become virtually competitive overnight in the global market,” said Goehring.

According to Graner, the Trump administration is looking at a stop gap for farmers. This time, it’s $20 billion dollars.

"Whether it comes in the form of government buying commodities and giving them to third world countries, buying up beef and pork kicking up their systems, that's to be discussed,” said Graner.

"Just getting another government payment to ride it out, kicking the can down the road. All it does is it just keeps you alive. You don't have the ability to invest back into your business,” said Goehring.

The new tariffs won't take effect for three to four weeks.

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