Pay the bills and don’t sell out

China. Has there ever been a time that one word has generated as much anxiety as that word does in today’s world? China is buying farms left and right throughout the nation but nowhere faster than in Oklahoma.

In fact, friends in Australia tell me their country has shut down Chinese purchases of farmland because they were on a pace to own the whole nation. A friend of mine in the northeastern part of the United States just told me they have a standing offer on their farm from a Chinese entity and, without something happening very soon, they will accept it.

In addition to all of that, I have just spent time with Gregg Doud, the former ag negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office who actually brokered the deal with the China free trade agreement. The details of how those 33 meetings actually came together were quite interesting. The most interesting part of the negotiations to me is that once he was able to clear off the misconceptions of how we actually do things, it all came together.

For all of the ag group executives and members who were critical of how the Trump administration started this negotiation, what are you saying now? I remember folks just having a fit because Trump placed a tariff on soybeans to the Chinese. At the time, so many people said we must show them we are serious and because it worked we can now get to business.

Year to date, the exports to China are off the charts for just about every farm commodity. The big winner is beef; China has never really been a beef customer and Doud tells me currently China is on pace to purchase $1.2 billion worth of beef in 2021. China has purchased so much in terms of farm products that “already” some are murmuring about China causing food inflation in the U.S.

It perplexes me to no end the number of people I personally talk to on a daily basis who don’t understand the need for global trade. In the United States we are blessed with resources and the resilience of farmers and ranchers to produce the much-needed essentials of life for the global consumer.

As of August 2021, the global population is still hanging around about 7.9 billion people and the United States is just over 333 million. The percentage of folks living somewhere other than the U.S. at 97% and yet the Biden team and Congress have allowed the Trade Promotion Authority to expire without even a discussion about extending or renewing it.

I realize this is just blatantly obvious but the true answer to finally achieving profit at the farm and ranch level is to increase production, increase infrastructure and work at keeping the expenses in check. I don’t need to tell anybody that increasing revenue at a rate behind increased costs doesn’t pay the bills. At the end of the day, it is high time the world’s premiere food producers have the ability to pay their bills without hesitation. Literally, it is what makes the world go around.

Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at, or email Trent at [email protected].