Coronavirus impacting agriculture exports

Digital Originals

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — The U.S. and China recently signed a deal which has China buying $40 billion in American crops and meat over the next two years.

“Mainly soybeans, pork, beef, poultry as well as sorghum and other commodities that they desperately need,” said President of the Illinois Farm Bureau, Richard Guebert.

The deal is called China Phase 1, but recent outbreaks of the coronavirus put the plan on pause.

“Businesses closing, people being quarantined in their homes, and dock workers not showing up. There are ships loaded at the ports waiting to be unloaded or to load other ships to go around the rest of the world,” said Guebert

Guebert says China has become a bigger buyer of Illinois soybeans in recent years, bringing in billions of dollars.

“I look forward to China coming into the marketplace and making some purchases of the goods that they’ve committed to in the phase 1 deal,” said Guebert. “But there have been real trade challenges trying to get commerce moving back and forth with no one at work in China.

Guebert and farmers say they’re optimistic these issues will be resolved.

“Spring fever is in the air with the weather getting a crop in the ground, this is what we do is plant a crop, harvest a crop, and take care of the ground that we’ve been given,” said Guebert.

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