Local Ag community hopes new China trade deals bring economic boost

THAYER, Mo. -- The agricultural community came together Saturday afternoon at Thayer High School for the 7th Annual Oregon County Farm Trade Show.

Local farmers spoke on the impact of weather and the trade war with China on their business.

"Corn prices is a struggle. They're a little high right now. If we can get the corn back down a little bit, I believe we can get things better, but also we can get some trade going with Japan, China, with some other countries. It definitely will increase and be better for all of us," said Jeff Lawrence of the Oregon County USDA office.

The White House's announcement Friday about a new trade deal with China is giving locals optimism at the Oregon County Farm Trade Show.

"If the trade deals would go through, we would probably get a little shot in the arm," David Stubblefield told KY3.

This year, which started with heavy rain, has been beneficial for David Stubblefield and his 200 cows.

"Very good Spring. Caught up a little on our hay," he added.

But in the last two months, things have taken a turn for the worse.

"Then we hit a dry spot. Tough on fall pasture but other than that it's been pretty good," Stubblefield explained.

"The last 30 to 45 days have been very dry. This morning we had a bad frost, so grass growth is going to be limited," Lawrence stated; all of which could force farmers to dip into hay reserves.

Currently, beef producers are seeing low beef prices and Lawrence says its been 18 months since beef sold for two dollars a pound.

"We were at the sale last night down in Ash Flat and about $1.45 to $1.55 was buying the better end of the calves, Lawrence exclaimed. If things turn around, I believe they could see 25 to maybe 50 cents more per pound. That would be a significant income increase for them."

In an industry where prices change almost by the hour, locals say they are optimistic for a better 2020.