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All Rights Reserved. Jonesboro, United States - Rich Hillman has faced trying times before. A farmer in the southern state of Arkansas, Hillman has tilled the land for three decades, enduring the aftermath of the s farm crisis, unfavourable weather patterns and previous tariffs to grow soya beans, rice and wheat. Difficult as those challenges were, they've been eclipsed by the fallout of the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.
Hillman, 56, also serves as vice president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau. He talks of the "quiet disaster" he and other farmers are experiencing this year as record rainfall and floods disrupt crop planting, compounding the financial pain inflicted by the escalating US-China trade dispute. Punitive levies specifically aimed at Chinese goods were first imposed by the administration of US President Donald Trump nearly a year ago.
When asked whether they felt the trade dispute with China would ultimately be resolved in a way that benefits US agriculture, some 65 percent of respondents in May said they expected a favourable outcome for the US. That's down from March, when 77 percent expected a beneficial outcome. Robert Stobaugh, an Arkansas soya bean farmer, told Al Jazeera that while last year's programme certainly helped, it hasn't made up the entire difference.
Like many American soya bean producers, Stobaugh farms with family. He, his brother and his nephew have grown the property that his father purchased in into a 6,acre operation in northwest Arkansas. He invited Al Jazeera to his farm near the Arkansas River, which has broken decades-old flooding records this year.
Stobaugh delayed planting many of his crops because of the constant rain this season. The trade war has made that blow all the more difficult to absorb. While many agricultural sectors have suffered as the trade war drags on, the soya bean industry has been especially hard hit.
Since then, prices have gone down, dropping dramatically this past year due to Chinese tariffs. A lot of the inputs, we purchased in the fall.
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So you have your money tied up in that, [and] the suppliers don't want you to return those products, because they've also sold those things to everybody else.