U.S.-China trade tariffs hit Stateline farmers

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- With China's early morning announcement of billion-dollar tariffs on United States goods, the agriculture industry is reeling.

After last week's U.S. tariff jump from 10 to 25 percent on goods, the Chinese government placed its own tariffs on powerful U.S. exports, including soybeans and grain.

Starting June 1, $60 billion worth of U.S. goods will see significant price changes.

Local farmers like Brent Pollard say the move goes about addressing the trade war in the wrong way.

"We understand that the administration wants to hold the Chinese government accountable for some of its unfair trading practices that we acknowledge that they do, but we've never believed that tariffs was the way that this was going to get accomplished," said Pollard.

With devastating flooding all across the region and record-breaking weather, some Illinois farmers tell us they have only been able to plant 9 percent of corn, while the usual average is close to 50 percent this time of year. Add that to turbulent trade talks and some say it's a recipe for disaster.

"It's definitely been challenging this year. The weather has made it stressful for farmers on top of the fact that the markets already were tight, from us producing pretty good crops the past few years, and then you add the whole trade and tariff situation and more uncertainty there, I mean, is giving us more uncertainty in our farming operations," said Pollard.

As the conversation continues, Pollard hopes the administration recognizes the need to fix the issue as quickly as possible.

We reached out to other industries in our area dealing with the new tariffs. Mick Gronewold, a professional engineer at Fehr Graham said in part, "The uncertainty of steel prices causes uncertainty for local contractors as they pull together bids for projects.... These unplanned cost increases can negatively affect our clients' budgets and, as such, delay them."