North Dakota rancher not too worried about trade war impacting cattle market

Some ranchers on the Western Edge of North Dakota are optimistic about how the market looks, but will the new series of trade wars between the United States and China start to affect the outlook.

One Slope County rancher said he feels good, but he is keeping his fingers crossed at the same time.

Wayne Gerbig is a fourth generation rancher, and he and his family lease land on the H-T Ranch in Amidon, ND for their Black Angus cattle, and he said right now he feels pretty good about the cattle market.

“Cattle deal is really pretty good with the commodities right now, ” said Gerbig. 

He said futures for feeder cattle and live cattle have been up the last few weeks on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

“Our exports are at record levels right now. . . we are shipping more meat overseas, ” said Gerbig,

He is optimistic about the recent trade deal between the U.S. and Mexico, which President Donald Trump said will be “Great for our farmers. . . workers”.

But, starting next week (September 24) Chinese imports will be taxed 10 percent before climbing to 25 percent at the end year in the recent trade war with China. 

President Trump said, ” I thing it is going to work out very well with China. I think they are going to want to make a deal”. 

Prior to the announcement of $200 billion of new tariff taxes on Chinese goods, China and the U.S.had already traded $50 billion tariff blows on each others imports this Summer, which is already affecting the U.S. soybean market.

China imported 60-percent of U.S. soybeans in 2017, which amounts to $14 billion for the U.S economy, and reports have U.S. soybean prices trading at a 10 year low at $8.13 per bushel. 

“It seems like everyone else is struggling there is a lot of surplus on the market . .. grains,” said Gerbig.

The rancher hopes the latest round of trade wars with China doesn’t trickle down to ranchers, as China is threatening to impose tariffs on 60 billion of U.S. goods in response to President Trumps latest action. 

China, a country of nearly 1.3 billion people, is the world’s fastest growing overseas market for meat with more than $2 billion in beef imports the last few years. 

The market opened up to U.S. beef producers last year, after being locked out since 2003 due to a scare over mad cow disease. 

“Fourteen years ago we lost their trade, and its taken them a long time to come back to the table and buy cattle again, ” said Gerbig.

Overall, Gerbig said he still stands behind President Trump, but he will be keeping a close eye on the market.

“The administrations before have never brought forward the imbalance of trade”.

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