The Christian Science Monitor

First a trade war. Now coronavirus. The roller coaster life of a US farmer.

Andy Stickel, a diversified farmer in Bowling Green, Ohio, standing in front of a cornfield he plans to plant to soybeans this spring. Source: Laurent Belsie/The Christian Science Monitor

Sitting at Andy Stickel’s kitchen table, a soggy field neatly framed by the picture window, it seems almost laughable to ask about his farm’s prospects for 2020.

It could be a wet year again, which seriously delayed planting in 2019, or a dry one. Growing conditions in Brazil or Argentina could send prices soaring or plunging. The new trade deal with Beijing might lead to $40 billion of new sales of U.S. agricultural products ​– or not, given the sudden appearance of the coronavirus, which is disrupting imports into China.

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