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Map shows how the U.S.-China trade dispute is hurting American farmers
American farmers are expected to traverse a rocky financial road in the coming months.
- American farmers are seeing economic losses as a result from the U.S.-China trade dispute.
- Farmers of soybeans, which is the most imported U.S. crop in China, have been hit especially hard.
- All agricultural commodities are at risk.
American farmers are suffering economic losses from a U.S.-China trade dispute that shows no signs of slowing down.
On Monday, the Trump administration announced plans for the U.S. to impose a 10-percent tariff starting Sept. 24 on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, increasing to 25 percent on Jan. 1. The Chinese government responded a day later by announcing new tariffs on U.S. goods worth $60 billion.
Losses across the country
A new map from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service, which shows year-over-year changes in net cash farm income, illustrates how farmers in all regions of the U.S. are, in part, already losing money from the tit-for-tat retaliatory measures.
Each region of the country specializes in certain crops, for example:
- Basin and Range: beef and wheat
- Heartland: soybeans and corn
- Northern Crescent: dairy
- Northern Great Plains: wheat, corn, soybeans
- Prairie Gateway: wheat, corn, soybeans
- Fruitful Rim: fruits, citrus fruits, vegetables
- Mississippi Portal: cotton, soybeans, corn
- Southern Seaboard: cotton, peanuts, rice
"All of these commodity prices are linked together," Gary Schnitkey, Professor in Farm Management at the University of Illinois, told Yahoo Finance. "If soybean prices fall, so do corn and wheat."
American growers of soybean, which is the most-imported U.S. commodity in China, are expected to be hit hardest by the trade dispute. In 2017, China imported from the U.S. about 33 million tons of soybeans, which are used to feed livestock and make cooking oil. If China can find another source for its soybeans, such as Brazil, the U.S. could see economic losses in the billions.
"On the U.S. side, farmers will suffer the most from the imposition of Chinese tariffs on U.S. soybeans," Loren Puette, director of Taiwan-based research firm ChinaAg, told DW. "To have the Chinese market shut down for these farmers would be a major financial blow," Puette says.
Still, China would likely suffer in the transition, too.
"The annual loss in U.S. economic well-being would range between $1.7 billion and $3.3 billion," said Wally Tyner, an agricultural economist at Purdue University. "Chinese economic well-being also falls if they impose a tariff, in some cases as much or more than for the U.S. The reason for that is that soybean imports are very important to their domestic economy."
Some have suggested an additional reason why China is targeting soybeans: to turn soybean farmers, many of whom are based in red states, against President Donald Trump ahead of the midterm elections.
"With the midterm elections only a few months away, we would expect China to keep the pressure turned up," John LaForge, head of real asset strategy at the Wells Fargo Investments Institute, wrote in a note to clients. "But soon thereafter… we would expect to see some relief for U.S. soy prices and U.S. soy exporters."
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Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.
- The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
- Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
- The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Seriously sustainable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDIzNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjM4NTMzMX0.BCEfYnn6C3z1zUHIS38xOWjXktgamNBi5iyqklSMYK8/img.png?width=980" id="ea524" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50533380eeb18eb5833b6b6aa3abec38" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>Solar Foods makes Solein by extracting CO₂ from air using <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90356326/we-have-the-tech-to-suck-co2-from-the-air-but-can-it-suck-enough-to-make-a-difference" target="_blank">carbon-capture technology</a>, and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 percent renewable solar energy from partner <a href="https://www.fortum.com" target="_blank">Fortum</a> to promote a natural fermentation process similar to the one that produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria.</p><p>When the company claims its single-celled protein is "free from agricultural limitations," they're not kidding. Being produced indoors means Solar Foods is not dependent on arable land, water (i.e., rain), or favorable weather.</p><p>The company is already working with the European Space Agency to develop foods for off-planet production and consumption. (The idea for Solein actually began at NASA.) They also see potential in bringing protein production to areas whose climate or ground conditions make conventional agriculture impossible.</p><p>And let's not forget all those <a href="https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper" target="_blank">beef-free burgers</a> based on pea and soy proteins currently gaining popularity. The environmental challenge of scaling up the supply of those plants to meet their high demand may provide an opening for the completely renewable Solein — the company could provide companies that produce animal-free "meats," such as <a href="https://www.beyondmeat.com/products/" target="_blank">Beyond Meat</a> and <a href="https://impossiblefoods.com" target="_blank">Impossible Foods</a>, a way to further reduce their environmental impact.</p>
The larger promise<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDI0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjU4MTg2OX0.7dZZYT5WEV_EupBuLVFwHynarTiz8RYR9aJtC6Ts2C4/img.jpg?width=980" id="3415d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e6eebe06d795f844752f9e9d30040d7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>The impact of the beef — and for that matter, poultry, pork, and fish — industries on our planet is widely recognized as one of the main drivers behind climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and antibiotic-resistant illness. From the cutting down of rainforests for cattle-grazing land, to runoff from factory farming of livestock and plants, to the disruption of the marine food chain, to the overuse of antibiotics in food animals, it's been disastrous.</p><p>The advent of a promising source of protein derived from two of the most renewable things we have, CO₂ and sunlight, <a href="https://solarfoods.fi/environmental-impact/" target="_blank">gets us out of the planet-destruction business</a> at the same time as it offers the promise of a stable, long-term solution to one of the world's most fundamental nutritional needs.</p>
Solar Foods' timetable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MTEzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTU1OTMwMn0.wnXh56iO_77x2XKV2uIPf78BKw4AJLUpmiyq_JBVGvo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=172%2C146%2C62%2C135&height=700" id="0297c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="125c9a98ec818f5c241fa28ef1423e67" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Lubsan / Shutterstock / Big Think<p>While company plans are always moderated by unforeseen events — including the availability of sufficient funding — Solar Foods plans a global commercial rollout for Solein in 2021 and to be producing two million meals annually, with a revenue of $800 million to $1.2 billion by 2023. By 2050, they hope to be providing sustenance to 9 billion people as part of a $500 billion protein market.</p><p>The project began in 2018, and this year, they anticipate achieving three things: Launching Solein (check), beginning the approval process certifying its safety as a Novel Food in the EU, and publishing plans for a 1,000-metric ton-per-year factory capable of producing 500 million meals annually.</p>
The protein powder Solein. Image source: SOLAR FOODS
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