Dixon, IL — Houston Chance’s family has been growing soybeans for over 60 years in the Dixon, Illinois area. The Chance family prided itself on being that largest and most productive farm Lee County for the past 25 years, even breaking the State record twice in 1998 and more recently in 2015.
However, to talk to Houston these days is to get a long lecture on how not to run a trade policy.
“The market just dropped out as soon as the President put those tariffs in place,” said Mr. Chase scratching the back of his head with his baseball cap. “China accounted for over 80% of our sales, and in one day, that all disappeared. We had 53 bushels per acre and were heading for another Lee County record. So I asked my pop what we should do with the 1.3 million pounds of soybeans, and he told me to donate them.”
After China announced it would not be purchasing US Soybeans, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “China’s announcement that it will not buy any agricultural products from the United States is a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by. Farm Bureau economists tell us exports to China were down by $1.3 billion during the first half of the year.”
What’s a Soybean Farmer to Do?
“I mean, what am I supposed to do with all these soybeans,” Mr. Chance wondered out loud. “So we just trucked them down to the Food Bank. I figure someone in need can use them. It’s either that, or we set them on fire, which is what I wanted to do.”
Dixon locals were both confused and thrilled.
“I love free stuff,” said Highland Avenue resident Daisy Cantor. “I grabbed the kids and loaded the F-250 with over 3 tons of [soy]beans and dumped them in my parking spot back at the apartment. The landlord wasn’t too happy about it until I gave him two large Glad bags full of them.”
Community Food Bank Manager Glenn Harris, who is also the Deacon at the local Lutheran Church, was a little angry about the unexpected dump.
“We sincerely appreciate the donations, but we wish Mr. Chance would have called us before dropping off one million pounds of soybeans. It’s going to take us a week to find the front door.”