Sorghum growers seeing the impact of China’s threat

Agriculture

 China is threatening to impose tariffs on American sorghum.

Kansas is the country’s top producer of sorghum, and farmers are already feeling the pain.

It’s more stress on farmers.

“I think I got about three hours of sleep that night,” said farmer Kyler Millershaski. “It’s definitely interesting to see how this will play out.”

China is the single-biggest buyer of US sorghum.

“Luckily, it worked out that the contract you already had,” said Millershaski, “they were going to let go through, but any new contracts, they put a hold on that.”

He lost his biggest customer overnight.

“We were hoping to move more milo to China in the future and as of now that’s looking like that’s not going to happen.”

It’s another in a long series of setbacks for farmers who already had a hard time selling off excess grain.

“If an important source of usage dries up then those supplies are just going to be hanging over the market and prices are going to be depressed,” said Monte Vandeveer with Kansas State University.

Those prices are already falling. Millershaski said sorghum prices dropped by as much as 20 percent.

“Yeah, it’s definitely a noticeable drop and we’re feeling it on the farm.”

Before this, he says the price of milo was rising, offering a bit of a relief to low wheat prices, but the setbacks keep coming.

“It’s going to be a tough year for wheat, and then just getting the milo from last year sold at a lower price, that’s going to be tough as well.”

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