Local farmers like him are finally back in the fields. The looming concern? China.


Better weather has allowed Ohio farmers to get back into the fields after a slow start to the season, but concerns about China loom as work continues.

China has threatened tariffs on various exported U.S. products following the Trump administration’s decision to add tariffs to Chinese steel and aluminum imported into the country.

RELATED : ‘I sit here a little worried’: Clark County farmer one of many concerned

Adding to the concerns are possible China tariffs on soybeans exported from the United States. China is the No. 1 importer of U.S. soybeans, one of the top-produced crops by Ohio farmers. Ohio is the ninth-highest soybean-producing state.

No action has been taken by China on the soybean tariffs, but the threat has caused soybean prices to drop.

This comes after a late start to planting various crops in the Miami Valley because of cold and soggy April weather, said Darin Leach, executive director of the Logan and Champaign Counties Farm Service Agency.

“April was a little slow on getting started, but the weather finally broke and guys are getting into fields and starting to get some things planted,” Leach said.

Farmers in the area mostly plant soybeans and corn. Logan County has planted 30 percent of its corn, and Champaign County has completed 50 percent. The two counties together have planted about 10 percent of soybeans.

A large part of that is due to the weather, and Brian Harbage and his farm staff are making the most of it now. He and others had to wait until the soil warmed up to plant. He works with corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and cattle. He was out planting corn Tuesday.

Harbage likes to get started sometime in the beginning of April if possible, but a break in past couple of weeks has allowed farmers to catch up on the late start. A strong growing season is still very possible, he said.

He and other farmers are worried about the proposed soybean tariffs because of how much of the crop is grown in Ohio.

“When you look at a field … the third row, of every row of soybeans, goes to China,” Harbage said.

The United States Department of Agriculture forecast earlier this month notes that soybean planting in 2018 would exceed corn planting for the first time in 35 years. Soybeans will cover 89 million acres this year, compared to 88 million acres for corn, the USDA said.

Plantings for both crops will decline from a year ago, the forecast said. The government’s spring wheat estimate topped all forecasts, with an expected 12.6 million acres, up 15 percent from last year. Last year, U.S. farmers planted 90.2 million acres of corn and 90.1 million acres of soybeans.

If a tariff is imposed, it would have a domino effect in rural communities, Harbage said.

“When the commodity prices go down, its going to affect what framers … can pay, for land rent or to buy new machinery, or it will even affect the consumers,” Harbage said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Mega Millions jackpot reaches record-breaking $868 million; Powerball jackpot is $345 million
Mega Millions jackpot reaches record-breaking $868 million; Powerball jackpot is $345 million

Update 12:59 a.m. EDT Oct. 17: No tickets matched all six numbers in Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing. Friday’s estimated jackpot has climbed to a record $868 million, with a cash payout of $494 million, according to the Mega Millions website. Update 11:15 p.m. EDT Oct. 16: Mega Millions numbers drawn Tuesday night...
Officials meet to ask: What should Ohio do to protect and promote its 110K military jobs?
Officials meet to ask: What should Ohio do to protect and promote its 110K military jobs?

For the third consecutive year, military brass, local business leaders, academics and politicos at the Ohio Defense Forum said the state needs to do a better job advocating for military installations and defense contractors in Ohio. “If we connect all of us together in the next four years, oh, my goodness, the alignment would be incredible,&rdquo...
Opinion: The truth about the Trump economy

I keep hearing that although Donald Trump is a scoundrel or worse, at least he’s presiding over a great economy. “The single biggest story this year is an economic boom that is durable and lasting,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said recently. Really? Look closely at the living standards of most Americans, and you get...
Do you have the winning Mega Millions numbers drawn tonight?
Do you have the winning Mega Millions numbers drawn tonight?

3, 45, 49, 61, 69. The Mega Ball was 9. The Megaplier was 5x.  Those are the winning numbers drawn Tuesday night in the largest Mega Millions jackpot in the game's 16-year history and the third-biggest prize in U.S. lottery history.  The jackpot jumped to $667 million from $654 million because of ticket sales hours before the drawing. ...
YouTube back up after long outage
YouTube back up after long outage

UPDATE 11:00 p.m. Oct. 16: YouTube announced on Twitter that its sites and platforms are back up and running nearly two hours after outages were reported. A wide outage has been reported for YouTube. The popular video-sharing website said it is aware of the reports. >> Read more trending news  “Thanks for your reports about YouTube...
More Stories