Clark County farmer, Brian Harbage, works on his farm equipment as he waits for the rain to stop so he can get in the fields to plant Tuesday, April 24, 2018. Bill Lackey/Staff

‘I sit here a little worried’: Clark County farmer one of many concerned over weather, China

Farmers in Ohio are worried about the weather and China, which have combined to make the start of the planting season a slow one.

That includes Brian Harbage, who operates a family farm in the South Charleston area.

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 this country.

READ MORE: Stuck in the starting blocks: Farmers idled by bad weather

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

“The talk of tariffs is aggravating,” he said. “You’re talking about a country that imports around 60 to 70 percent of our soybeans. We don’t want to see the U.S. sitting on a pile of soybeans if China turns to South America for their imports.”

Harbage has not begun his planting yet and said he and other Ohio farmers will need at least a four-day stretch of sun and warm temperatures to get into the fields. Harbage, like most Ohio farmers, plants a 50/50 ratio of soybeans and corn. 

“I sit here a little worried, but then I know we always get it done,” he said. “Some years you might work 15 hours a day to get the work done. If we have to, we’ll turn to 24-hour operation to get the work done.” 

Farming even in the best of years is not stress free. “Once you do get the seed in the ground, then you have to worry about having the right temperatures for it to take off,” Harbage said with a laugh.

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