China's new tariffs on soybeans could hurt Iowa farmers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

China's new tariffs on soybeans could hurt Iowa farmers

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As tensions over trade between the United States and China heightens, the impact could hit home for Iowans.

Today, China hit back at threats from President Trump's administration over trade tariffs by issuing their own -- with a $50 billion Chinese list that includes a potential hike on soybeans, just as Iowa prepares to on a record year for the crop.

Second only to Illinois, Iowa is among the largest producer of soybeans in the nation. This year is forecast to be the first time soybean acres exceed corn in 35 years in Iowa, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Iowa farmer Jon Heisdorffer is preparing to put in his 47th crop this spring. The remnants of last years corn stalks circle around his Keota home as he prepares to rotate the land into soybeans.

"Iowa, two years ago had a record crop. Last year, we had a very big crop," he says.

Heisdorffer, who has been growing soybeans since the beginning, is also the president of the American Soybean Association.

"In my 47 years, I've never had something like this happen.Never quite this big," he said following China's tariff threat which would add a 25% increase in the American good.

However, it's something he said the ASA wasn't too surprised by.

"We always hope that there would be some kind of negotiations and things we can figure out ahead of time so we don't have to worry about this happening because this is going to be really hard on farmers income if this tariff goes on. We're going to lose exports," Heisdorffer said.

When it comes to the sale of soybeans, Heisdorffer says China is the United States's number one customer.

"$14 billion worth of soybean and soybean products, last year. If you think about planting, one out of every three rows of soybeans, goes to China," he said.

According to Heisdorffer, if the tariffs go into effect, China would likely seek soybeans from elsewhere, like South America, thus leaving an excess amount of soybeans in Iowa. He said he's tried to reach out to President Trump about their concerns, both personally and on behalf of the ASA.

"So far, he has not responded, but I'm still hoping to have that conversation with the president because I want to him, from a farmers view, what's going to happen here, what's happening, and how our incomes are going to be subjected to this," he said.

In a tweet Wednesday, President Trump said the United States isn't in a trade war with China by then saying the United States lost that war many years ago.

That list of potential tariffs that Chinese officials put out on Wednesday also includes goods like cars, planes, beer, and chemicals. Chinese officials haven't said when the tax-hikes could take effect.

U.S. Senators, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, have issued statement about the negative consequences the tariffs could play in Iowa.

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