Decisions between the U.S. and China affect Canadian ag
By Diego Flammini
Canadian farmers are stuck on the sidelines watching commodity prices fluctuate as trade talks between the United States and China start and stall.
In March 2018, when the U.S. kicked off the trade war by asking the United States Trade Representative to investigate applying tariffs on Chinese goods, soybeans traded for almost US$11 per bushel.
Prices have risen and fallen since that time, and as of Tuesday afternoon traded for about US$8.65 per bushel.
Watching the two countries exchange tariffs is hard, said Ken Durham, a cash crop producer from Niagara, Ont.
“The trade war hurts all farmers big time because we are at the mercy of the politics,” he told Farms.com. “Regardless of where our soybeans go, (the trade war) still affects the Chicago Board of Trade and the world price for soybeans.”
Gord Masters, a cash crop and beef producer from Kawartha Lakes, Ont. agrees.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if the bottom fell out on some of these commodity prices,” he told Farms.com.
The difficulty of managing a farm business during the trade war, paired with weather challenges, could be enough for some producers to leave the industry.
“When you look at everything that’s happened across North America, this year might weed some farmers out and they won’t be able to survive the year,” Durham said.
Canada can do something to repair its relationship with China and present itself as a source of good ag products, Masters and Durham agreed.
Letting Meng Wanzhou, the chief operating officer for Huawei Technologies, return to China could help restore access for canola and other ag commodities, they said.