Cleveland, OH — In a recent op-ed for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio Soybean Association Executive Director Kirk Merritt and GoRail AVP Michael Gaynor discussed how an escalating tariff dispute between the U.S. and China could negatively impact Ohio’s family farmers and the industries that support agriculture, like freight railroads. They write:

“Soybeans — Ohio’s largest agricultural crop — is one of the most heavily tariffed goods under China’s new policy. With China as the single largest foreign market for U.S. soybeans, higher trade barriers stand to cripple the industry, which operates across the American Midwest.

But the debilitating effect of Chinese tariffs will not be limited to the soybean industry and farmers at large. Industries involved in the production, harvest and transportation of agricultural products throughout Ohio and the United States will similarly suffer if concrete measures are not taken to protect American businesses.

One such example is freight rail, one of the primary modes of transport for agricultural products in Ohio and nationwide. With soybeans constituting more than 20 percent of the grains moved by freight rail, China’s decision to target our soybean industry stands to have significant consequences for American farmers and freight railroad companies alike.”

Continued tariff escalation and the threat of a trade war also create uncertainty for U.S. businesses, which disrupts supply chains by interfering with planning and operational decisions. Railroads, for example, need lead time to decide where to position their assets and train crews to meet demand. Being in a state of limbo makes planning difficult and could lead to a deterioration in service.

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