Fears of a trade war between the U.S. and China escalated Friday after Beijing warned it could slap tariffs on U.S. products, which could have a direct impact on the Tri-States' economy.
Tri-State farmers have their planters out and ready for the spring. They typically start to plant corn on April 10th and soybeans just a few weeks later. But China's retaliation has them worried they will have to bare the brunt of the President's decisions.
"Farmers are price-takers in a supply and demand industry," said Adams County soybean farmer John Schmitt. "So when there's a threat that the markets might be locked up, prices are gonna drop. We've already got low prices, so lower prices are not good for the outlook."
Rick Edwards of the Adams County Farm Bureau says soybeans produced in Illinois and Missouri equal the bushels that the U.S. exports to China every year. While it's at $10 a bushel now, it could realistically lower to $7 or $8.
"It's a trickle down effect," Edwards said. "When soybeans go cheaper, farmers grow more corn and we've got more corn than we know what to do with now."
He says by the time farmers pay for machinery, seed and fertilizer, they'd be losing money.
"If farmers aren't making money, they aren't buying machinery. That even affects companies in Quincy such as Titan tire that produces the rims, and we know Titan is a major employer in the area," Edwards said.
The Illinois Farm Bureau has had people in D.C. lobbying to keep this from happening for about six months now, Edwards said, and will continue to keep up their efforts.
As for farmer John Schmitt, he says it's a frustrating waiting game. "Yeah, it's a very uneasy feeling heading into the spring crop."
Edwards urges farmers to get involved with the Illinois Farm Bureau so they can get into direct contact with Congressmen and change the direction of where they're headed.