Local farmers concerned over new tariffs on American goods

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Local farmers concerned over new tariffs on American goods. Vernon Odom reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on July 6, 2018. (WPVI)

A new 25 percent tariff against Chinese imports went into effect at midnight. In retaliation, China announced it would immediately raise tariffs on American goods, including soybeans, pork, and whiskey.

Experts say this could be the start of a major trade war.

For local farmers, this could spell disaster for their profits and the future of their business.

Richard Schlosberg has been growing soybeans for 30 years in Chester County. It looks like a bumper crop for this fall but the trump tariff war with China is hurting him and others badly already.

Richard Schlosberg of Newtown Square said, "I understand why he's trying to do it, but it's affecting farmers in a negative way. Prices have dropped over 20 cents since the tariffs were announced."

Bill bean is a Chester County soybean farmer who voted for Donald Trump with great enthusiasm but he's experiencing regrets now.
During the Obama administration, he represented Pennsylvania's soybean farmers on trade missions to China and 16 other countries.
He's not happy now in the wake of his vote for Trump for president.

Bean of Elsmere said, "It's costing us about $100 an acre. I have 1,500 acres of soybeans, do the simple math, that's $150,000 that's costing me personally, and I'm just one guy of many."

Bean and Schlosberg both sell their grain to Hostetter Grain in Oxford. They are veteran exporters who see the big picture as well as the smaller one down on the farms.

Bill Hostetter, an exporter said, "Long term, I don't know if we will get back to where we were anytime soon."

The bottom line, there is no good news in the tariff battle for soybean farmers and they fear matters will only get worse in the months ahead as they head towards harvest in the fall.
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