Planting season has begun for New York State farmers and while new tariffs have helped some industries, it has put a strain on others. Those others being farmers that are concerned about recent tweets sent by President Trump about raising tariffs.
1700 acres of farmland in Penn Yann belong to the Martens family. Farmers that have felt a pinch from new tariffs.
“Farmers are are really under severe stress.,” said Klaas Martens, who has spent his whole life on the farm. He says steel tariffs among others have inspired other countries like China to enact tariffs on United States farm goods. That has only helped the competition.
“There was a huge increase in the plantings of soybeans in our competitors land, so even if this were fixed right now, the soybean market has been damaged probably for a generation,” said Martens.
Luckily the Martens farm has a diverse profile of crops. Those span from corn, soybeans, edible beans, wheat, spelt, and feed crops. Klaas’s son Peter is taking over farm operations and started growing edible beans in 2014.
“They’re difficult to grow,” said Peter, “But they’re a higher value crop.” They have the advantage of more markets. Other farmers do not have the same luxury. This lower demand has led other farmers to start liquidating. “Established farms that have been in the area for generations are selling out.”
The Martens continue to invest in their farm with the hope of passing it down to future generations, but stronger tariffs for these farmers could mean a struggle for years to come.
The Martens farm is also focusing on renewable buildings, using solar and geothermal energy to reduce their footprint and keep the farm sustainable for generations.