Local Farming Industry Watching Trade Talks Closely, Hope Deal Is Reached

MULBERRY, Ark. (KFSM) — A lot of people in the farming industry are waiting for the results of high stakes trade talks begin between the U.S. and China.

If no deal is made, tariffs will rise from 10-25% on $200 billion of Chinese imports.

Raymond Chung, the President of American Soybean and Edamame plant in Mulberry, Arkansas says while their domestic products have not been impacted by the tariffs, a lot of his farmers have been.

"With soybeans prices in the $8-8.50 a bushel range it's very difficult for most farmers to make a profit on their crop and so it kind of starts building up," Chung said.

China was the largest buyer of American soybeans until it retaliated with its own tariffs last year.

According to the American Farm Bureau, Soybean exports to China fell by 90% and farmers lost almost $8 billion in sales.

"Some of my farmers are relatively smaller sort of family farms and other folks are bit bigger but there are some folks that I feel have a little bit more anxiety than others," Chung said.

He says some of the local farmers he works with are worried if more tariffs go in effect China will once again strike back.

"Farming always been a challenging business having to deal with all the uncertainties like weather, but to have low prices layer on top of the risks is definitely not helpful for a lot of my guys," Chung said. "I want to make sure that my farmers are financially stable and that they're doing well."

Chung says everyone is hopeful that an agreement can be reached by both sides.

President Donald Trump has also expressed optimism about reaching a last minute deal with China, but if no deal is reached by midnight, the tariffs will take effect.

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