Eastern Iowa farmers 'cautiously optimistic' about trade war truce

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ASBURY, Iowa (KCRG) -- President Trump says he reached a truce with China over the trade war, and eastern Iowa farmers hope the two countries come to a resolution quickly.

Mike Bahl feeds cows on his family's farm on Tuesday, Dec. 4. (Allison Wong, KCRG-TV9)

Dubuque County farmer Mike Bahl said he's cautiously optimistic about the truce.

On Tuesday, he was harvesting corn on his parent's farm in Asbury. They're what Bahl calls a diverse farm, producing corn, soybeans, dairy and beef. However, that hasn't prevented them from feeling the negative effects of the tariffs.

"It's just been a bad storm for even the person that's diversified enough with all different areas of the agriculture sector," Bahl said. "It's just been detrimental."

Bahl said a good chunk of their product goes to China and now prices are down.

"About 30 percent, 30 to 40 percent of our soybeans gets exported over to China and that price went from $10 this spring to $8 this fall, if not slightly lower," he explained.

That also comes at a time when their yield has hit record levels, but with nowhere to sell it.

Bahl said, "we're waiting for hopefully these tariffs to be lifted and for us to have a valuable product at the end."

The Iowa Soybean Association President Lindsay Greiner said in a statement he wants both the US and China to, "identify solutions and announce a path forward securing long-term trade that's fair, equitable and reciprocal."

However, investors aren't sure that tariff cease-fire will hold up.

On Tuesday, stock indecies each fell more than three percent, including a nearly 800 point drop for the Dow Jones industrial average.

President Trump says the pause on tariffs happened as a result of conversations he had with Chinese President Xi at the G20 Summit.

Under the alleged deal, Trump says China agreed to buy more US goods, including agriculture.

Now the White House says finding a permanent solution is up to President Trump and President Xi.

"There was real chemistry between these two leaders. As president Trump's tweets indicate only they can get this done," White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said.

Bahl hopes the solution comes quickly and with the small, American farmer in mind.

"He said, "we hope that this cycle ends shortly and we'll hopefully be better than before the tariffs."