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Amid Drop In Soybean Prices, Arkansas Governor 'Praying' For Success In Trade Talks

Governor Asa Hutchinson
Michael Hibblen

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he is "anxious for success" as the U.S. negotiates with China over trade tariffs. The escalating trade war has rattled markets, with soybean prices falling to their lowest levels in a decade.

"We’re praying that the president will be successful in these negotiations," Hutchinson said in an interview with KUAR News.

After weeks of talks, President Donald Trump last week raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. China responded Monday by increasing tariffs on $60 billion of American goods. Hutchinson, a Republican, said it’s vital that this doesn’t lead to a decades-long trade war.

"Everybody understands that we want a better trade policy with China. We support the president in doing that, we just want to know the end game, and that we’re going to be able to, in the end, we need to have our tariffs lowered so we can have our global commerce that supports our farmers," Hutchinson said.

Soybeans are the state's largest row crop, according to the Arkansas Farm Bureau, with 3.1 million acres, accounting for more than rice, corn, sorghum and wheat combined. The drop in prices, along with recent wet weather that delayed planting, has growers worried, the governor said.

"I think the president needs to do a better job in explaining what we’re going to end up with when all this is over," Hutchinson said, "to give hope to our farmers, give hope to those that are depending upon this commerce. Ultimately the consumers pay for it."

Michael Hibblen is News Director of UA Little Rock Public Radio. A 34-year radio veteran, he oversees the KUAR News staff, plans coverage and edits stories while also reporting and anchoring newscasts.