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Challenges of 2019 harvest season, concerns about trade war with China

Because of wet, muddy conditions, and more rain on the way, Pine Island farmer Mike Frost is holding off on finishing his harvest until the ground freezes and hardens up again.

Posted: Nov 20, 2019 7:12 PM

PINE ISLAND, Minn. - Because of wet, muddy conditions, and more rain on the way, Pine Island farmer Mike Frost is holding off on finishing his harvest until the ground freezes and hardens up again.

"We have one tractor with front wheel assist which is pretty safe, but the other one is a two wheel drive tractor. When you've got all that weight, you start sliding around and it's pretty dangerous," he explains. The wet spots also affect yield.

Frost anticipated a later harvest season. He shares a combine with a relative. He hired someone with larger equipment to harvest his soybeans, since he knew he would be harvesting corn late.

He and his wife Linda have about 30 acres remaining to harvest. "There will be a few good days and we'll be done hopefully before Thanksgiving is what I'm hoping," he says.

More troubling to him than the later harvest is the United State's ongoing Trade War with China and its impact on farmers like himself.

"What I wish is that the president would have a strategy. Instead it seems like his strategy is whatever at that date he comes up with. Then he slaps on tariffs," he explains.

A preliminary trade agreement with China was announced a month ago, but yesterday during impromptu comments before a cabinet meeting, President Trump said he might raise tariffs again, putting any agreement in jeapardy.

"South America, they're ramping up their food production and China can go there too so every day that goes on, the rest of the world is producing food. So we have to realize that we're not the only game in town," says Frost.

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