Small soy farmers could bear brunt of trade war

At least one economist posits that the U.S. trade dispute with China will not affect all soybean farmers equally in states like Missouri.

The impact on individual soybean farmers and companies will depend on their size and ability to diversify, said Pat Westhoff, an agricultural economics professor at the University of Missouri.

While lower prices will hurt growers across the board, mid-to-large-scale growers and big agribusinesses are better positioned to adapt to deteriorating market conditions.

Some mid-sized Missouri farmers have already diversified their crops, which will help mitigate losses from soy. However, small-scale growers working with less land and resources will have a tough time switching to another crop like corn or growing livestock.

Companies like Cargill, for example, have moved soy production overseas to countries like Brazil that are not in a dispute with China.

“The impact on total revenue may be very similar across the scale of production,” Westhoff told KCUR. “But sometimes the effect on net revenue can be very different. So a given price that may be difficult for a large producer can be catastrophic for a small producer.”

Read more: KCUR

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