North Dakota soybean crisis

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BARNES COUNTY, N.D. - June is when soybean farmers generally see the best marketing opportunities.

Last month, instead of cashing in, North Dakota producers saw prices fall $2 a bushel when the Trump administration began talking tariffs and renegotiating trade deals.

Monte Peterson is loading up and selling what's left of his 2017 soybeans. He contracted this crop for $2 a bushel more than the current price.

"That's the kind of fall we've seen in the marketplace since we've started the discussion of trade with China and of course trade discussion with NAFTA," said Peterson.

Soybeans are a $1.5 billion crop for North Dakota. When the trade war began to escalate in June, prices dropped 25-percent, that's a $375-million loss for the state's farmers.

"Agriculture generally gets hurt first, and so we weren't surprised that once tariffs were implemented that we saw market reaction to it," said Peterson.

Last week, Peterson and other members of the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association met with the state's congressional delegation to talk about trade issues and quickly find resolutions.

"In some of the discussions I've had with the administration they've indicated they can possibly get the NAFTA agreement completed by early fall, that would be very helpful," said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Last week, President Donald Trump tweeted from Brussels, "I will open things up, better than ever before, but it can't go too quickly. I am fighting for a level playing field for our farmers, and will win!"

North Dakota farmers say they lose big when when trade with China is disrupted.

In North Dakota, 6.5 million acres of soybeans were planted this spring and 70-percent of that crop is exported to the Asian market.

Soybeans are grown in all 53 North Dakota counties.