South Dakota ag industry fears new tariffs could have big impact

President Trump announced Monday that he is imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, three of America's biggest trade partners.

Many of those countries are already fighting back with tariffs of their own.

"This is not the action of an ally or of an economic partner which in fact the United States should be and has been for so long," Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wayne said.

Ever since the President began talking about steel and aluminum tariffs earlier this year, the market for both commodities, as well as other U.S. products, has been volatile.

This latest announcement just adds to that uncertainty.

"These countries aren't going to take this sitting down, they're going to retaliate, and in most cases they retaliate against agriculture," South Dakota Senator John Then said. "So we're very concerned about this, I've expressed that to the president directly, to members of his administration."

"We just also wanna make sure the administration clearly understands the impact that even having the discussion of tariffs has on the market on a daily basis," South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds said.

Much of South Dakota's concern about tariffs is the potential retaliation on American agricultural exports.

"We're very dependent, our producers here in South Dakota both on the crop side and the livestock side are going to be very, very concerned if there are retaliatory measures taken by either of those countries directed at agriculture," Thune said.

State leaders are also concerned about the steel market which can have a big impact on farmers.

"If you have a manufacturer, if they're producing farm equipment, if they are producing steel bins, whatever it might be, their cost will go up and the farmer or the end consumer ultimately pays that bill," Rounds said.

Haug Steel Construction Inc. says the uncertainty in the market means farmers have less time to plan out their projects.

"On a normal basis for grain bins will be quoted a quote for 21 days, they'll lock that price in for 21 days, a lot of times our buildings are locked in for 30 days," President of Haug Steel Construction Larry Haug said. "The grain bins have now gone to seven days, the buildings have gone to 10 days and it's pretty hard for people to make a financial decision in seven days."

With the prices of grain so low, it directly affects how much business farmers will be able to do with companies like Haug Steel.

"Fifty percent plus is agriculture related, when things are good on the farm, we're very busy, when things are not good on the farm, we do slow up," Haug said.

In his 40 years in the steel business, Larry Haug says he's seen the market jump as much as 35% over the course of one summer, which could add about $10, 000 to the overall cost of a normal $60,000 grain bin project.

Economists believe the tariffs could further increase the cost of everyday products around the U.S.