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Trade war has major impact on TX Panhandle farmers

A Wildorado farmer opens up about how the new trade war between the U.S. and China will impact TX Panhandle farmers. (ABC 7 Amarillo-Tiffany Lester)

Some of Texas' major cash crops are being targeted in the latest trade war between the United States and China, including, cotton, corn, wheat, and sorghum.

Texas has more farms and ranches than any other state in the country.

A field of green isn't something you see every day in the Texas Panhandle.

Dale Artho has been farming all his life.

He shows ABC 7 News around his wheat farm in Wildorado.

It's one of many crops he grows. Others include cotton, corn, and sorghum.

“China is the #1 recipient of the grain that I grow in terms of sorghum,” said Artho. “They use it for specialty products and industrial uses, so about 80% that's grown here goes to China.”

China officials have announced a 25-percent tariff on more than 100 types of goods including the crops Artho grows.

“I’m just a little guy from Wildorado, How do I fight china is the question we have. We're good at agronomy and we're good at production, but we can't control the weather and we can't control the government and so those two wild cards, we never know what we're going to do,” said Artho.

The tariffs are putting farmers like Artho in a tight spot economically.

“Bottom line is, I'm going to lose 25-percent of commodity prices basically because the market place on the export side will compensate for that so they'll either push the prices down here to make a difference or some sort of mechanism through USDA,” said Artho.

He tells ABC 7 News the hit will also have a major impact on the local economy; If farmers get paid less, that means they'll likely spend less in the community.

But Artho said despite the potential impact, he agrees with U.S. President Donald Trump about taking a stand against China and its trade practices.

“Id’ rather have a trade war than a shooting war, and I’d rather it prosper and generate jobs here. From what I see and what I know, this is the route we need to take,” said Artho.

Artho tells ABC 7 News the tariffs should not impact any of the consumers in our area.

He said he believes the U.S. will continue to see some sort of trade with china despite the tariffs.

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