China trade sanction threats have direct impact on KS farmers

A grain sorghum crop

WASHINGTON (KSNW) – President Donald Trump’s crackdown on Chinese trade is having a direct impact on farmers in Texas and Kansas.

China is planning trade sanctions on sorghum, which for many farmers is their most profitable crop.

Planted sorghum covers six million acres of America.

“Texas produces more sorghum than any other state in the country saving except Kansas,” said Texas Congressman Jodey Arrington.

Arrington says sorghum is a popular grain used to feed livestock. It’s also a key ingredient in many cereals and sweeteners.

“This is big business for Texas,” said Arrington.

But the sorghum business, which brings in more than $1 billion each year to the U.S., is now in danger. That’s because China, America’s top buyer of sorghum, is threatening tariffs on the grain.

“We don’t want to get into a trade war, but we don’t want to compete on an uneven playing field,” said Arrington.

China’s announcement comes less than two weeks after President Donald Trump announced tariffs on solar panels and washing machines imported from China.

“The cash price on sorghum dropped over a dollar,” said Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture.

At a hearing this week, Perdue acknowledged the trade conflict and drastic drop in sorghum prices.

“We think the sorghum issue will mollify over a period of time, it just shows you as an example how fragile and how sensitive the ag economy and prices are now to trade disruptions,” explained Perdue.

Perdue says the Trump administration is meeting every week to discuss China’s trade retaliation, but he was hopeful China may decide to back down. Which is what farmers are hoping since China generally buys 70 to 80 percent of the sorghum crop.