North Alabama farmer reacts to China tariff threat

(Source: WAFF)
(Source: WAFF)
Updated: May. 29, 2018 at 10:51 PM CDT
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(Source: WAFF)
(Source: WAFF)
(Source: WAFF)
(Source: WAFF)

(WAFF) - The White House made an announcement Tuesday that the U.S. will hit China with a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of goods.


Here in north Alabama, that directly affects Alabama soybean croppers if China does the same.

Farmers say there are a lot of different people that this can touch, especially in rural America.

Stan Usery is the president of the Alabama Soybean Association. He said last year, the U.S. exported more than $13 billion worth of soybeans. Of that, more than $130 million came from Alabama.

"When the tariffs were first proposed and talked about a couple of months ago, the price of beans fell. Say they were trading around $10.40 or $10.50, they fell 20 or 30 cents in one day, which is a pretty big move," Usery said,

With less money coming in, there is less money going out.

"We're already working with pretty tight margins as it is anyway. That's just less money we have to spend at the equipment dealerships and in our rural communities in general," Usery added.

Local farmers markets say the best way to help farmers out if tariff's are imposed is to buy local.

Greene Street Market in downtown Huntsville has a weekly street festival where farmers sell their produce. Farms within 70 miles of the metro participate. Every day, though, they have a small set of products from local farmers.

"We've got squash from King Farms. We've got bread from London Bread. We've got kettle corn from the kettle corn folks. We've got some art from a local young lady who's just fabulous. We've got all sorts of canned good from a lot of our farmers," Marilyn Evans, the shops manager, listed.

"As a farmer, I don't have time to go to Washington, D.C., but our organizations are strongly representing us in Washington, D.C.," Usery said.

In a desperate plea, he's hoping that somehow, some way the White House changes its mind and saves their livelihood.

The final list of Chinese products impacted will be announced by June 15.

The tariffs will go into effect shortly after.

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