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WQAD.com

Pig farmers say tariffs killed the opportunity of a lifetime

Pig farmers across the country say they missed the opportunity of a lifetime.

WALCOTT, Iowa -- Pig farmers across the country say they missed the opportunity of a lifetime.

They missed out on selling pork to China after an epidemic wiped out thousands of the country's pig population.

Mike Paustian, who is a sixth-generation hog farmer, said his family sells 28,000 pigs each year.

After tariffs stopped exports to China, Paustian said he's looking at it as a missed opportunity.

According to the Department of Agriculture, about 575 million pounds of pork is sitting in refrigerated storage warehouses across the country.  Trade disputes between America and China, plus the 68% tariff on imports, means producers like Paustian couldn't sell to a market screaming for product.

So China went shopping elsewhere.

Farmers suggest lawmakers, even the President himself, make the trip out to their farms, to see how their choices impact lives.

Farmers hope 2020 will see a reversal of fortunes.  They say the signing of the "Phase One" deal and the trade agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico are a step in the right direction.

This year, China reported reported its weakest annual growth in almost three decades.