Pork Farmers Hit By China's Tariffs in Trade War with U.S.

Apr 9, 2018

Pigs on a hog farm.
Credit TEODOR LAZAREV / SHUTTERSHOCK

Ohio hog farmers are reacting to the news that China is planning to attach a tariff on pork exports. That’s in response to the U.S. proposed tariff on Chinese steel. Farmers say this is a move that has an immediate effect.

“The message is get it worked out.”

That’s Brian Watkins, a lifelong hog farmer from Kenton who wants President Donald Trump, top federal officials and leaders from China to resolve the impending trade dilemma.

He says China’s proposed 25 percent tariff on pork creates a volatile marketplace with ripples that can instantaneously hit farmers.

“Something happens somewhere in the world that very quickly, I mean immediately essentially within hours gets filtered into the price being paid for what we receive," Watkins says. 

China accounts for $488 million in U.S. pork exports. The Ohio Pork Council says, because of the nature of the industry, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much business Ohio farmers get from China.

Correction:  This article originally indicated that China was attaching a tariff on pork exports instead of planning on doing so.