Colorado’s farmers and ranchers on edge as US and China try to stave off a trade war | VailDaily.com

Colorado’s farmers and ranchers on edge as US and China try to stave off a trade war

Cattle prices have already fallen

Aldo Svaldi
The Denver Post
photo - Dry rural eastern Colorado

IDALIA, CO - SEPTEMBER 13: Dust flies up as Oscar Ortiz, a pen rider at Cure Feeders, works with the cattle on September 13, 2017 in Idalia, Colorado. The Cure family ranch sold water rights to 54 of their wells to the Republican River Water Conservation District. The water from those wells is now pumped to a holding tank that will free-flow down a pipeline to a outfall at the Republican River as part of the Republican River Compact among Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska.

China is proposing penalties that would punch America square in its breadbasket following U.S. threats of tariffs on $50 billion worth of its goods. And that posturing has put Colorado’s farmers and ranchers on edge.

“I can tell you it makes the U.S. farmer and rancher nervous when we have our president talking about limiting our access to world markets,” said Marc Arnusch, owner and operator of Marc Arnusch Farms, which raises corn, wheat and other crops in Prospect Valley.

China has threatened a 25 percent tariff on pork. Soybeans, the top crop the U.S. sends to China, also is vulnerable, as is sorghum, a grain raised for export that is well-suited to Colorado’s drier climate.

Even if Colorado producers don’t export their crops, reduced access will only further depress prices in a market struggling with excess supply, Arnusch said.

Defenders of the administration’s tougher stance on trade argue it will result in greater access for U.S. goods and create a more level playing field. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reassured markets Monday, saying he was confident that the two countries could reach an agreement that would avoid the U.S. tariffs.

Read the full story on The Denver Post website.