Southside farmers: Tariffs painful, but needed

President Trump imposing tariffs on certain Chinese goods, impacting farmers

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – With extra taxes being placed on numerous Chinese goods, China is placing extra taxes on U.S. goods in retaliation. 

"For the last 15-20 years, everything we've been sending overseas has just not been traded fairly. We're bringing stuff in, there's no tariff on it. Everything we're sending out, you know, it's just not fair," Halifax County farmer Garland Comer said.

He said the price of soybeans has dropped from $10 a bushel to $8.20 a bushel in the last two months as a result of the tariffs.

He produces around 25,000 bushels a season, meaning the tariffs will cost him about $45,000.

"It's just really not a good thing when the farmers are the first ones that have to take the brunt hit of it, but I do think it needs to be done," Comer said.

Pittsylvania County farmer Robert Mills said the exact impact the tariffs will have on his operation is unknown.

"Really, it's still too early in the process. For us, I'm a poultry grower, a beef cattle grower, and a tobacco producer, so I've got a pretty diverse operation," Mills explained.

He said the impact on small grains, like soybeans, is what concerns him the most.

But like Comer, he agrees that tariffs are necessary.

"We may have some pains right now in the short term, but in the long term it makes us a stronger country and it makes our products even stronger in the world market," Mills said.

He doesn't want to see a trade war, but he hopes the tariffs will lead to a better trade deal for U.S. farmers.

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