China's Proposed Tariffs Could Hit Kansas Agriculture Hard

Apr 4, 2018

Farmers and ranchers in Kansas could be impacted by proposed tariffs by China on agricultural products.
Credit Courtesy of USDA

China has announced its intent to add additional tariffs to 106 U.S. products, including several of Kansas’ top agricultural exports.

Among the list of items China will impose a 25 percent tariff on are beef, wheat, corn and soybeans. Those items make up more than half of all of Kansas’ international agriculture exports.

Soybeans are particularly vulnerable to the new tariffs because China is one of the industry’s largest customers. China bought one-third of the U.S. soybean crop last year.

“We’ll figure it out and deal with it as it comes,” Kansas soybean farmer Luke Heinen said. “But anything that breeds uncertainty makes farmers uncomfortable.”

And while that’s not good for him, Heinen also said that he trusts that U.S. trade policy officials are looking out for the country’s best interests.

“I hope it’s just a short-term negative for a long-term positive,” he said.

Kansas Farm Bureau President Richard Felts also expressed concern about how far the trade dispute with China might go. He said farmers are losing patience and are worried about what impact it will have on Kansas farmers.

“We have bills to pay and debts we must settle and cannot afford to lose any market,” he said in a statement.

In 2017, China accounted for more than $100 million of Kansas’ agricultural exports. That’s about 3.3 percent of all agricultural exports for the state.


Brian Grimmett, based at KMUW in Wichita, is a reporter focusing on the environment and energy for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KMUW, Kansas Public Radio, KCUR and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. Follow him on Twitter @briangrimmett. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.

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