Many farmers in Missouri say 2018 has been a year unlike any in recent memory, with the confluence of a Chinese trade dispute and drought across much of the state leading to depressed prices and diminished yields.
Soybeans have lost about 20 percent of their value since May, driven largely by the evaporation of demand from China — which previously bought one-third of U.S. soybeans. Corn, another Missouri staple, has seen its value slide and was hit hard by drought in the state.
But the agriculture sector’s struggles are not confined to row crops. Farm products including pork and dairy have also been hit hard this year. And difficulties for Missouri producers have translated into a tough business environment for companies that sell inputs, equipment and other products and services to farmers.
As the U.S. economy remains strong, farm incomes are approaching their lowest levels in a decade.
Farmers across Missouri said late-summer rains and trade relief from the federal government helped them avoid catastrophe, but some believe the current global trade climate leaves their businesses in a precarious position.
Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch