Regional

N.D. Farmers Face Soybean Marketing, Storage Challenges

The trade dispute with China has led to retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soybeans, and North Dakota producers will see even more direct impacts than price very soon.

“No export sales are being booked out of Pacific Northwest ports to China, which is the primary destination for North Dakota soybeans,” says Frayne Olson, North Dakota State University Extension crops economist and Agribusiness and Applied Economics associate professor.

“As a result, some local elevators have begun pulling local cash bids for soybeans,” he adds. “That is, they will not accept physical delivery of soybeans at any price. This means farmers will need to find another home for their beans, or most likely store them for later delivery – whenever that might be.”

Olson explained that many North Dakota farmers sell their soybeans at harvest and rely on that income to cover operating expenses and cash flow rather than store the beans.

“The immediate issue is lack of storage and a limited number of less-than-ideal alternatives,” says Ken Hellevang, NDSU Extension agricultural engineer and Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering professor.

“Soybeans can be a challenge to store,” he notes. “Soybeans need to be harvested at 11 to 13 percent moisture to limit cracks in the seed coat and cooled with aeration to maintain their quality. Any storage option needs to prevent water intrusion and have aeration to control the bean temperature.”

This situation with soybeans obviously adds to the stress many farmers already are facing, according to Sean Brotherson, NDSU Extension family science specialist and Human Development and Family Science professor.

“The pileup of stressors can leave producers feeling powerless and frustrated,” he says. “Talking with others, taking time to assess options and developing proactive steps to pursue are valuable steps in being able to regain a sense of control when facing challenges.

“Reach out to a loved one, friend, clergy or neighbor to talk about how you are feeling,” he adds. “Or call 2-1-1 for listening support, suicidal thoughts, mental health issues, crisis and referral. Support is available.”

See www.ag.ndsu.edu/alerts for additional information about this situation, storage possibilities and personal stress.