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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Illinois farmers welcome $12 billion in aid, but prefer trade: 'There’s no magic crop out there'

Illinois farmers welcome $12 billion in aid, but prefer trade: 'There’s no magic crop out there'

Illinois soybean farmers caught in the middle of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China might see some short-term relief from $12 billion in aid announced Tuesday, but they’re still worried about losing their best customer.

Illinois was the largest soybean-producing state last year, with more than $3 billion in exports, shipping more to China than any other state. But that relationship, which benefits farmers and rural communities throughout Illinois, hangs in the balance after China imposed tariffs earlier this month on $34 billion worth of U.S. imports — a retaliation to Trump’s tariffs on an equivalent amount of Chinese goods.

On Tuesday, the Agriculture Department...

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