Congressman Dusty Johnson told a meeting he organized in Sioux Falls Monday that “30 years of economic engagement” has not made China freer. But the ag-industrial leaders Johnson assembled for his get-tough-on-China talk seem more concerned about their bottom line:
“China is a huge buyer of dairy products,” said Jason Mischel, of Valley Queen Cheese Factory in Milbank. “Without access to that market, it would have a big impact on American dairy producers.”
…U.S. agricultural exports to China in fiscal year 2022 reached $36.4 billion, surpassing the previous year’s record and making China the U.S.’s largest agricultural export market for the second consecutive year.
Those record numbers came after Chinese retaliatory tariffs in 2019, during the administration of President Donald Trump, resulted in the lowest export values in a decade.
“For the average South Dakota farmer, $50,000 was the average loss,” said Jerry Schmitz, executive director of the South Dakota Soybean Association, referring to 2019.
China is the world’s largest soybean importer, accounting for half of U.S. soybean export value.
China is also the world’s largest consumer of feed grains, like corn, sorghum and alfalfa hay. Additionally, China’s beef consumption and import demand have grown over the past decade, with total imports reaching $17 billion in 2022.
“They are the consumer,” Schmitz said. “And if we say we’re not going to sell to China anymore, or only a third as much, then another country is going to come in, buy our soybeans, transfer them to China, and we lose” [Joshua Haiar, “Local Panel Tells Rep. Johnson to Protect Business Ties with China,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.05.01].
If Dusty wants to lead a boycott or sanctions against China, he’s going to have to work really hard to convince South Dakota’s ag-industrialists to put their patriotic duty to fight Communism ahead of their profit motive.