Concern for local farmers following China tariffs

As you drive through Lancaster County, what do you see?

Farmland for miles...

"Agriculture is so important to Pennsylvania. It's our largest industry," said Rep. David Zimmerman, District 99.

An industry that many local farms fear will suffer following the recent rumblings of a potential trade war with China.

"Whenever you're looking at a positive trade entity like agriculture, whenever it's sort of held up as a bargainingship, the chances of it affecting agriculture, where we're exporting up to a third of our pork, a third of our soybeans, if we lose those markets, that's significant," said Christian Herr, executive vice president of Penn Ag Industries Associates.

The estimated $3 billion tariff imposed by china early this week focuses mainly on agricultural products-- including pork, fruit, and wine.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania farms had 1.25 million hogs and produced 19,000 tons of peaches as of December.

In a statement issued to Fox 43, the department says, "China is a top-five market for Pennsylvania`s producers. Last year, the state exported to china nearly $413 million worth of goods. The agriculture community is concerned about trade and the direction of the nation`s trade policy, and this week`s news of retaliatory tariffs on american goods being traded with china is further cause for alarm."

While some state representatives say they fear the impacts of the tariffs, the end result though is keeping them optimistic.

"It could put our agriculture industry in a turmoil and could certainly have a negative impact until we get through this whole thing but in the end, hopefully we'll get back on track and the us will be in a better place," said Rep. Zimmerman.

Herr says while there is some concern, there is also hope.

"It seems to be the president's strategy to put it out there, make it an issue. And then when cooler heads prevail, and when they get down to the agreements, they have been beneficial to the united states. So we're hopeful that strategy is something that continues to be successful."