OPINION  China’s recent announcement that it will not buy any agricultural products from the United States is a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by.

In the past 18 months alone, farm and ranch families have dealt with plunging commodity prices, awful weather and tariffs worse than we have seen in decades. Farm Bureau economists tell us exports to China decreased by $1.3 billion during the first half of the year. Now we stand to lose all of what was a $9.1 billion market in 2018, which was itself a sharp decrease from the $19.5 billion U.S. farmers exported to China in 2017.

We are grateful for Market Facilitation Program payments many farmers and ranchers have received, allowing them to continue farming during this difficult time. Even so we know that aid cannot last forever. We urge negotiators to redouble their efforts to arrive at an agreement, and quickly. Exports ensure farmers will continue to supply safe, healthful and affordable food for families here and around the world.

  • U.S. agricultural exports to China from 2017 to 2018 decreased more than 50 percent, to $9.1 billion.
  • U.S. agricultural exports to China in 2014 exceeded $24 billion.
  • U.S. agricultural exports to China from 2000 to 2017 increased by 700 percent.

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Zippy Duvall is president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.