Local soybean farmers hurting

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.-Kentucky farmers have built a thriving industry around a tiny green bean, the soybean.

Amid an international trade war between the U.S. and China, Kentucky soybean farmers are doing what they can to keep the industry afloat.

Local farmers and industry experts voiced their concerns at an agronomic showcase at Western Kentucky University’s LD Brown Ag Expo Center in Bowling Green Tuesday.

Soybeans are one of the Kentucky’s biggest exports, and the best customer has been China. During a roundtable discussion, industry experts described how Kentucky’s soybean farmers continue to be impacted by the ongoing tariff war.

“Soybeans are traded worldwide, therefore they’re subject to this tariff situation that the government, the whole world is going through at this point. So, price point is an issue,” said Rocky Napier, industry expert at BSF Ag Solutions.

Due to tariff hikes American soybean exports to China dropped by 74% in 2018. This has put economic strain on farmers and affected soybean production in unexpected ways.

“With the tougher economic times for farmers, more farmers are going to growing continuous soybeans, so they don’t have the rotation. So, they’re planting soybeans this year and next year and the year after that. It really opens you up to this risk,” said John Miller, industry expert at BSF Ag Solutions.

Soybean farmers face billions of dollars in lost Chinese sales. Other industries impacted include grain traders, railroads and seed companies.