American farmers grapple with falling prices and sinking incomes

A CALM USUALLY descends on America’s farm belt in November. Combines have mostly finished churning across fields; trucks have hauled crops to grain elevators; and farmers retreat to their living rooms to rest. This year, at least by one measure, they should feel particularly content. Randy Sims, a hog-and-grain farmer in western Illinois, produced 75 bushels of soyabeans per acre, a third more than in the past. Indeed American soyabean production in 2018 is expected to reach 4.69bn bushels, a record. But it is unclear who will buy them.

America’s farmers are at the centre of President Donald Trump’s trade war. More than a fifth of agricultural exports face new tariffs. From January to September pork exports to Mexico and China fell by 31% and 36%, respectively. Sales of soyabeans, America’s biggest farm export, to China have plunged by 98% since January (see chart). “It’s a big concern,” says David Williams, who farms 3,800 acres...



via The Economist: Finance and economics Business Feeds

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