The De Smet News

Harvest comes in for De Smet farmers

Harvest comes in for De Smet farmers

Jason Tolzin, a local farmer, is busy harvesting his soybean crop before it rains. On a global basis, he’s on the frontlines in the midst of a trade war with China.

Tolzin is your typical farmer. He grew up around it and when he graduated high school it was natural for him to enter the family business. He’s been doing this for the past 18 years.

Tolzin and his father work about 4,000 acres. Some of the land they own and some they lease. Their crops this year include soybeans, corn and a little wheat and some oats.

Just this last spring, the prices for soybeans were around $9 and now they’re just above $7.

Because of the trade wars between China and President Trump, the tariffs imposed by China have decreased the demand for soybeans. Less demand for soybeans means the commodity prices drop.

In this area, farms may yield 40-75 bushels of soybeans per acre, Tozin said. Land fertility can make a huge difference. If an acre in this area yields 40 bushels, with the commodity price about $1.50-$2 lower than the average, that translates to $60-$75 an acre the farmer is losing. Multiply the $60-$75 per acre by the number of acres a farmer has in soybeans and you quickly see why farmers are so concerned.

The numbers used are conservative and some farmers may be losing more than $100 per acre.

Right now the best tactic is to harvest the soybeans and store them and wait for the prices to rise to a decent point and then sell, Tolzin said.

He doesn’t know what the market holds next year, but he said they would probably taper off a little on soybeans.

“Its bad, but not really bad yet,” Tolzin said.

He said they probably wouldn’t be leasing as much land next year as well.

It seems the buyers of the commodity state their prices, those leasing land have their rates and when the market heads south the only person compromising is the farmer.

Tolzin said he understands why Trump is doing what he’s doing with the tariffs and trade. It just made American farmers the soldiers in the trade wars, with them being hit the hardest.

When asked what advice he had for his children who may want to be a farmer when they grew up, Tolzin replied, “I’d support them no matter what choice they made.”

Posted on 11-02-2018

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