Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Farmers struggle to store crops as US tariffs start to take their toll

United States tariffs are beginning to take their toll on farmers and the storage, shipping and freight operations they need to move their crops to market. In North Dakota, soybeans from 2017 are still in storage after China pulled its contracts. Of the 15.9 million bushels left from that year’s crop, 12.1 million bushels are sitting in grain elevators. That is an increase of 68 percent. “There aren’t any shipping contracts to move them out of those facilities and get them to ports in the Pacific Northwest for export, either,” said Simon Wilson, executive director of the North Dakota Trade Office. With this year’s crop now being harvested, the lack of available storage means some soybeans may have to be stored on the ground in bags, a challenge for this temperamental crop. According to the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association, farmers in the state contracted to sell an estimated 40 percent of the 2018 crop. In Wisconsin, Chippewa Valley Bean, a kidney bean processor and supplier, slashed prices on its remaining beans from the 2017 harvest to move them out. Cindy Brown, the company’s president, told CNBC the company is taking a financial hit but had to do it. “We are playing catch up on moving product and bursting at the seams,” Brown said. “We had to do something. We not only need the room but also needed to pay our growers on contracts we made with them in 2017.”...MORE

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