It’s planting time for Midwest farmers and much of the corn they grow will end up feeding livestock in China, which has become a huge importer of grain from the Corn Belt. That means the farmers can’t just select seeds based on which ones will get the best yield. They have to think about where their grain will be sold.
China has its own rules for the kind of crops it wants and when American farmers don’t comply, China can close off its market.
In 2013, China discovered in U.S. corn a genetically engineered trait that, although permitted in the U.S., had not yet been approved in China. Chinese regulators rejected American corn because some of it contained the trait.
“When you hear China has banned all US corn,” said Ward Graham, a farmer in South-Central Iowa, “a person in my position? That’s not good.”