MI soybean farmers worried about impact of Chinese tariffs - WNEM TV 5

MI soybean farmers worried about impact of Chinese tariffs

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The impact of Chinese tariffs on American goods is reaching Mid-Michigan.

Soybeans are a major crop across the state. Farmers plant about 1.5 million acres of soybeans each year.

While China isn’t one of Michigan’s top customers for soybeans, the Chinese tariffs could cause prices to skyrocket.

“Last year we produced 104 million bushels. That makes soybeans the number one valued exported crop in the state,” said Dan Keenan, owner of Keenan Farms and member of the Michigan Soybean Association.

China announced its response to President Donald Trump’s tariffs with some figures of its own – potentially impacting cars, airplanes and soybeans. It’s something Keenan hopes won’t come to fruition.

“There’s no set implementation dates. So, at this point I hope it’s a bunch of safer-rattling and I hope that they can kind of get this thing worked out. We’ve been a very good supplier to China of soybeans and they’ve been a very good customer,” Keenan said.

For him and his family, this is more than just business.

As a fifth-generation farmer, Keenan said the new tariffs could potentially affect his entire livelihood.

“I usually wake up in the morning and check my phone to see how overnight did, the commodity prices and when I saw that soybeans were down 40 cents I figured something happened,” Keenan said.

He said that 40 cent swing could result in a $20 loss per one acre.

“It would affect us in the pocketbook. Soybeans are one way that I support my family,” Keenan said.

For now, Keenan remains hopeful. He said Michigan and the U.S. are too big of a soybean producer to just dissolve.

“On a global level, we produce roughly 34 percent of the world’s soybeans,” Keenan said.

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