State Rep. looks into new markets as China no longer buys U.S. agriculture goods

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Planting problems haven't been the only issues for South Dakota farmers. The United States has lost China as one of their largest partners in sales of U.S. agricultural goods.

South Dakota is a state that relies heavily on its agricultural market. The halt of selling goods between the U.S. and China will cause a huge disruption in South Dakota’s economy.

South Dakota has been a farming gold mine for generations. It's main crops being soybeans, corn and wheat but with the recent stop in trade with China a South Dakota state representative is looking to reach new markets.

"We can't let the Chinese bully us into assuming that they're our only market. There are other markets out there," South Dakota State Representative, Michael Saba said.

Just last week President Donald Trump said the U.S. 10 percent tariff on 300-billion dollars’ worth of Chinese imports would go into effect September 1. The President has said he could be counted on for trade assistance, though.

"This has all affected our economy greatly," Saba said. "While most of the people are kind of sitting around and complaining about the tariffs and probably with good reason."

He said it's a long term approach. A farmer in Kansas told President Trump about how the tariffs are crippling them.

"He said I’ll take care of the nation you take care of your state so that's what we need to do we need to take care of South Dakota. We can't just sit and wait until that tariff situation is worked out," Saba said.

Saba is now working with a group of seven Egyptians that will visit and see how South Dakota produces.

"Another thing that we could be selling to them is South Dakota agri-technology. SDSU has the only precision agriculture department in the U.S.," Saba said.

He said the Egyptians need to make their land more productive so as much as they're importing they're trying to bring in more land for production.

"And I’m pushing and pushing for the state to help in any way they can to increase the opportunities for sales, products and our technology," Saba said.

He said he's been able to put together trade delegations that will come from those countries. Food is an important commodity for world trade and this isn't the first time that this has happened, but hopefully the issue can get resolved soon.

Saba said some of South Dakota’s agriculture is some of the best quality in the world and if other nations don't see it they'll go to other parts of the U.S. to get it.