Alabama farmer hopes trade “normalizes” with China

ELKMONT, Ala. - Concerns are growing against President Trump's $12 billion plan to help American farmers who are feeling the effects of the escalating trade war.

The President's proposal was announced Tuesday in response to retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other countries.

This year's soybean crop could yield a record harvest for farmers but the payout may be less than normal. That, combined with tariffs is dropping the price of soybeans.

Alabama farmers say they are cautiously waiting to see what happens next.

It's just another day out on the farm for Stan Usery as he scouts his soybean crop in Elkmont. "I've been farming since I was old enough to farm," he said. The farmer serves as president of the Alabama Soybean and Corn Association.

While the life of a farmer is marked by uncertainty, he says the tariffs are making life even more difficult. "It just adds another layer of increased risk."

China is the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans, taking on average, one out of every three rows of the crop.

"We'd really like to sell them the beans and keep them as a customer."

Usery says he doesn't think any of his crop will end up being exported to China. It will most like be sold locally, but that doesn't mean he won't be affected by the tariff.

"The price of soybeans has fallen almost two dollars, a little over two dollars a bushel. For reference, back in April, May the price of soybeans was around  $10.50  a bushel, $11. Right now we're looking around $8 to $8.50," said Usery.

And while he's grateful for the aid package that was introduced by the federal government, "Bigger picture we would like to see a long-term solution."

He hopes trade can normalize with China so farmers like him have one less worry when it comes to making green.

The Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industry says the relief package will be available for farmers in September.

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