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Coronavirus could have impact on South Dakota farmers

(KSFY)
Published: Feb. 18, 2020 at 7:18 PM CST
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Bad weather and tariffs have made this past year pretty tough for farmers. After President Trump signed the phase one trade deal in January, it seemed like things were turning around. However, the coronavirus could be putting a wrench in that.

Right now, Scott VanderWal, President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau says he doesn't see the coronavirus as much of a threat to our farming economy but if the virus continues to spread here that could change.

Currently, it's a waiting game for farmers.

“Just got all these trade agreements put in place and signed and hopefully what we're looking for now is implementation on those and that means grain moving back and forth and other products moving back and forth between countries,” said VanderWal.

While farmers wait for that to happen, they're keeping a close eye on the coronavirus.

"Certainly the coronavirus can throw a little bit of a wrench into that with travel restrictions and things like that,” said VanderWal.

There are also concerns that China may buy fewer ag products as their economy is taking a hit from the virus.

“Being able to sell it to other countries and ship it over there is the basis of the whole thing and any disruption in that would not be good,” said VanderWal.

Depending on how bad the coronavirus spreads, VanderWal says there could be an impact on the U.S. economy.

“And that would turn into possibly decreased demand for our products, but those are things that we just have to adjust to as we go and manage it when we find out what happens. I know our government is doing everything they can to keep it from spreading and working with the Chinese and other countries around the world to try to get a handle on that,” said VanderWal.

Right now, VanderWal says there is not much farmers can do. So he's trying to stay positive and focus on what he can control, which is planning for the next crop year.

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