Tariffs could cost WNY farmers big bucks despite federal aid

Posted at 9:30 PM, Jul 26, 2018

Tariffs are the talk of the farm. And there was plenty of talk at one particular farm outside of Mt. Morris in Livingston County. The New York Corn and Soybean Growers Association held its Summer Crop Tour at Merrimac Farms on Thursday. 

"We saw the price drop, almost immediately," said Colleen Klein, the Executive Director of the NYCSGA about tariffs that were passed on American goods in foreign countries like China.

Corn and soybean are a almost half a billion dollar industry in New York. Most of the soybeans in the state come from Western New York and almost half of soybeans grown are exported. So when prices fall, families lose money.

"We're producing for less than cost of production. So, we could be losing money at the current markets," said Jason Swede, a farmer from Pavilion. 

"When it comes down to it, our house is made out of crops that we're exporting," said Brad Macauley, the owner of Merrimac Farms.

The White House announced Tuesday, $12 billion dollars would be made available to help farmers caught in the middle of this trade war. That's a small amount according to the NYCSGA.

"Once you're parceling it out, is it going to save anyone's farm? No," said Klein. 

The farmers said they aren't looking for aid. They want better trading and hope President Donald Trump's policy on trade, one day, pays off. 

"You got to give everyone a chance, that's how I felt coming into it," said Macauley about President Trump's presidency. "Obviously, this is something that hasn't been great for agriculture. But, when you look at the whole picture, it seems like the economy is doing well."

Crops are still growing and there's months until harvest, but if tariffs remain in place, the men and women who grow our food fear they could take a big financial hit.