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SD Ag Not Eager to Wage Dusty’s War on China

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.


  1. Nick Nemec 2023-05-03

    Cutting off trade with China is Trump level stupid.

  2. O 2023-05-03

    This seems similar to when President Carter took a tough stance against the Soviets with potential boycotts. That was one thing used to rally farmers against him; the GOP mobilized the farmers concern for loss of markets to undermine both Carter and a meaningful response to the Soviets.

    Dusty should know that the business of the US is BUSINESS.

  3. Loren 2023-05-03

    Just another “and then what” moment for the GOP. Repeal ObamaCare, huge tax cuts for corporations and wealthy, repeal Roe, continue to support Florida Fats from Mar a Lardo… Republicans can seem to operate in the moment, spewing bull roar that seems popular without ever thinking, “And then what…”

  4. Donald Pay 2023-05-03

    There seems to be a kind of bipartisan elite freakout over China. It’s not as if there isn’t a lot to criticize about the Xi regimes approach to internal dissent, or their efforts to more closely control foreign and domestic business and industry. I hate that kind of stuff. Where does Dusty stand on the Desantis war on Disney or his censorship of library material and school books. Where does he stand on Noem’s communist efforts to impose an ideological purity into history curriculum. We’ve got Chinese communist tactics right in the Republican Party, but not a peep from Dusty on that.

  5. Mark Anderson 2023-05-03

    South Dakota farmers must really hate trans.

  6. Arlo Blundt 2023-05-03

    Donald has a good point. Dusty is just talking through his hat, and hasn’t expended much scholarship on the Chinese situation. For some reason he is much more pro-Russian at the expense of the Chinese. I make no apology for the Chinese dictatorship, but, “we should keep our enemies close” to minimize misunderstanding. China has severe demographic problems which Uncle Xi needs to address. Young Chinese want their MTV so to speak, and are a ticking timebomb to the ancient leadership class.

  7. All Mammal 2023-05-03

    There is no forgiving the treatment of China’s Uyghurs. I have a feeling Congressman Dusty Johnson (hehehe, his johnsons dusty) doesn’t give a flying bleep about China’s brainwashing camps. He is just a guy wagging the dog because he actually doesn’t have anything interesting to say.
    Nor has Mr. Johnson tried to urge China to Free Nepal… or as trump calls it “Nippal”.

  8. Donald Pay 2023-05-03

    The thing about Xi is he early on went after the graft in the Communist Party, the provincial and local governments and the elite business crowd. That gained him immense popularity with the people. His approach to Taiwan and the South and East China Seas is highly popular, though I think it’s nuts. He wants to restructure the economy so that more of the economic growth gets down to the working class. That is popular. He’s smart, and he has a good feel for the popular will in China. He was willing to change the zero-covid policy that he was proud of earlier than he wanted because it wasn’t working against Omicron and people were tired of its heavy-handed execution at the local level. So, like him or not, he’s likely going to be leading China for as long as he lives.

  9. Mark Anderson 2023-05-03

    South Dakota can do a Florida Kristi. You have to stop allowing Chinese Americans buying any property. It’s the Republican way of life.

  10. Richard Schriever 2023-05-06

    2 things,

    1. China is a great deal mor ECONOMICALLY “free” (individual capitalism) that it was BEFORE to 60 (not 30) years of US engagement (Nixon policy, not Clinton policy). Ask any Chinese citizen alive since the ’60’s.

    2. Nepal (where I have friends with whom I have regular conversations) is not under Chinese control, but is an entirely independent nation, so how China could free them is not quite clear. What the idiot Trump seemed to have intended to refer to was, of course, Tibet. But his having ZERO knowledge of global geography or foreign affairs beyond his ability to sell his name somewhere, he made a double, or even triple blunder with his “nipple” statement. And the right complains about Biden’s mental capacity.

  11. John 2023-05-09

    Dust-up Johnson plays stunts with his nonsense about engaging a work requirement for SNAP. Work requirements do not put folks to work – they severely limit food assistance. But don’t let the facts bother Dust-up:

    In another stunt, Johnson and his House losers are playing the debt ceiling game they ignored when 45th was dear leader.
    The union of federal employees is sues to strike the unconstitutional nonsense:

    The House republicans will have to invent something else to whine about.

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