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>> For Illinois soybean farmers desperately seeking new buyers, every market is worth chasing including Sri Lanka. The country bought some 3,000 metric tonnes of US soybeans last year, a drop in the bucket compared to China.>> If you take last year's total imports of US soybeans by both countries, it will take 11,000 plus Sri Lankas to make one China.
>> Still, members of the Illinois Soybean Growers Association met with a group of grain buyers from Sri Lanka in September, hoping to sweeten the deal between the two countries. The wooing of such a tiny market reflects desperate times for US farmers. They're getting squeezed after losing China, their biggest customer in a global trade war initiated by US President Donald Trump.
To stay afloat, US farmers are taking matters into their own hands, says Reuters reporter Karl Plume.>> The new markets US farmers looking at are typically minor buyers such as Spain, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Thailand. These are buyers that will typically be importing from Brazil this time of year.
But with China buying up all the soybeans they can from Brazil, driving prices up there. It's driving the European and Asian and Middle Eastern business to the United States.>> These activist farmers are lobbying lawmakers, joining trade trips overseas and hosting would-be-buyers at their farms. Their efforts come as corn and soybean prices are hovering near decade lows.
Many growers, Reuters learned, are willing to take any shred of new business they can get as a bumper harvest is further swelling their massive stocks of unsold grain.