North Dakota is Hit Hardest as the Trade War Continues

Local News

Experts say North Dakota is being hit the hardest in the northern midwest as the trade war wages on.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis reported that North Dakota exports fell by 14 percent in the last year. And, they say the statistics they took from the Department of Commerce could be underreported.

KX News met with a local farmer that says he may have to start storing this year’s crop.

Chad Weckerly helps manage his family farm along with his father and grandfather.

He shares, “It’s a tough time to have a trade war.”

As Weckerly works hard to harvest his wheat farm, he’s worried he about how much money it will actually bring home to his family.

He adds, “Well it would be very difficult to not be concerned to a high degree going through this conflict.”

But it’s not just about the money, he’s not sure where to sell much of his crop this year.

Weckerly explains, “I should have more of a plan than I do. We can’t count on 1 in 3 rows of soybeans to go to China this year.”

The Minneapolis Fed covers six northern midwest states. In a recent publication, they said half of these states managed to continue to grow their agriculture exports in 2018, the year the trade took off. But within the first four months of this year, all six states saw export numbers fall.

And that’s before China halted all agriculture trade with the US in early August.

US Senator from North Dakota, John Hoeven explains, “The President announced that he was looking to put another 10 percent tariff in place on additional Chinese goods, but that would be September 1. And then China came back and said, well if that’s the case, then they aren’t going to buy more ag product.”

Senator Hoeven is hoping the war will end without tariffs on either country, but that looks a little bleaker after China hiked up another $75-billion in tariffs on US goods today.

Weckerly shares, “This president could be the right person to negotiate this out, but certainly, as much as my head wants to support him, my stomach is still queezy. You know, it’s a tough thing to live through.”

Senator Hoeven says a ‘band-aid’ has been put in place until further agreements can be made.

He says, “I had Richard Fordyce, who’s the Administrator for FSA, out here. And we’re putting out about 16-million dollars to our farmers and ranchers while the administration is working to get these agreements in place.”

Producers can still sign up. The Senator hopes first payments will go out by the end of August.

But, Weckerly says he still doesn’t know where he’s sending his crop.

He adds, “We’re going to be filling up our storage, and likely running out of space to put the grain.”

He says there are a lot of farmers in his shoes.

Senator Hoeven says while we’re waiting for a resolution with China, he hopes the US can put together a trade plan with Europe and Japan, so farmers have another place to ship this season.

He says he is also waiting on the US House to bring the USMCA to the table. Hoeven says the Senate is ready to pass it when they do.

Weckerly says it can’t happen soon enough.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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