Blaine Jacobson of the Idaho Wheat Commission: “The corona virus is affecting the export of Idaho wheat.”
After the stage one trade deal was signed between the U.S. and China, Idaho wheat farmers were optimistic they'd sell and ship more wheat to China immediately. But with factory shutdowns in that country, ports grinding to a halt. It hasn't happened.
“Their economy is going backwards and it's put in a downward effect on the expected purchasers of American agricultural products.”
Idaho ranks fifth in the nation in wheat production, with growers producing more than 100 million bushels. Nearly half of all Idaho wheat is sold to foreign markets, making it one of our top export products. But so far, Idaho has missed the Asian markets
“We haven't noticed a loss of Chinese sales because we didn't have them before. We were just expecting to get those sales. But the most immediate impact has been the cancellation of visits by some of the other Asian customers. We scheduled a trip from some representatives from Japan and also from Korea. They're still buying wheat, but they're not making the in-person visits the way that they would be doing normally.
Last year, Idaho exported more than 2 billion dollars in commodities and food. While this year started out bright, the big question remains, how deep will the Corona virus cut into Idaho exports?