American farmers are stockpiling soy.
Faced with reduced prices because of the U.S.-China trade war, soy farmers are choosing to sit on their crop—one of the largest to date—rather than sell. A bushel of soybeans is going for about $8.87, down about $2 since eight months ago before the two countries started raising tariffs on each other’s goods, according to Bloomberg.
China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans, but their import of American soybeans was down 94% in the year to mid-October, which is having major knock-on effects in the American market.
Meanwhile, soybean futures for July are currently selling for around $9.27. While not as high as it was before the trade war, that price is much more attractive to farmers—if they can keep their crop that long. Many are literally running out of room to store soybeans, which are more prone to rot than other crops, and have been forced to keep them in risky conditions or even to leave them unharvested in the field.
Trump has offered temporary financial relief to farmers, the lion’s share of which has gone to soybean farmers. But Doug Schroeder, the vice chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association, says farmers need trade, not aid. “Market access and trade certainty support our families, our businesses and our communities. Short-term aid does not create long-term market stability.”