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Local farmers worry about impact of tariffs

Posted at 9:14 AM, Apr 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-05 10:57:02-04

Michigan is the country's 12th largest soybean supplier, which is a cause for concern among farmers in Mid-Michigan.

Tuesday, China announced tariffs on some of Michigan's most important crops in retaliation to the Trump Administration's tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum.

David Williams grows soybeans on his farm in Clinton County. They've been his family's main crop for more than 150 years. China imported more than 13 billion dollars worth of them from the US last year, about 60 percent of all the soybeans American farmers exported.

"This is kind of wiping all of our progress away in a short period of time. It's taken us years to build up, now it could deteriorate rapidly," Williams said.

It's not just soybeans. The Chinese tariffs also target apples and cherries -- both huge crops here in Michigan. The Michigan Farm Bureau has been getting calls from a lot of farmers wondering what it means for them.

"Obviously very concerned, We've already seen the market shift a little bit today and really over the last few weeks as the discussion has been happening," John Kran of the Michigan Farm Bureau said.

Williams thinks the problem needs to be solved diplomatically, rather than putting the people who feed the country at risk.

"We just hope that our leaders in Washington will take a step back, take a deep breath, and do what's right by the people that put them there," he said.