New trade deals to benefit Kansas farmers

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Big trade news coming out of the nation’s capitol could soon impact Kansas farmers.

Leaders in the state agriculture industry said it’s a win that the U.S. Senate just signed the USMCA trade deal. Now it goes to President Trump’s desk.

In addition to the new USMCA trade deal, the White House has also announced phase one of a trade agreement with China.

The deals mark agreements with the country’s top three trade partners.

Farmers, especially ones growing soybeans in Kansas, have seen prices drop and have been hurt by increased tariffs with China.

“They’re very resilient, they’re very strong-minded individuals, and I think they’re very appreciative that we now will have good, solid trade agreements,” said Kenlon Johannes, CEO of the Kansas Soybean Association.

Ag officials said the new deals are a sign of progress, but the work they did the past few years will also help.

“We’ve gone out and built new markets in southeast Asia, in Europe, and even other parts of the world, even moving into Africa now,” Johannes said.

“It’s given us the opportunity to expand our market space so we’re not so reliant on one customer as we were, but when China comes back in, it should be exciting for all,” Johannes said.

China has committed to buying an additional $200 billion of products in the next two years. That includes $12.5 billion in agriculture alone next year.

Officials said before tariffs were put in place, China was buying about one-fourth of the state’s soybeans. They’re hoping to return to higher levels.

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