The nation's farmers are caught in the middle of the U.S. trade war with China, and are now grappling with how to invest in their futures.
"From an agriculture perspective, it has already has had a huge impact -- I think the concern is just how long is this going to go," German American Bancorp (GABC) chairman and CEO Mark Schroeder told TheStreet. Schroeder leads a bank that deals with the heartland of America. Headquartered in Jasper, Indiana, German American boasts 58 offices across Southern Indiana and northern Kentucky County.
Schroeder added that it "feels like" there is an element of fear in the agriculture sector about investing in new capital equipment. "They want to move forward and have a need to move forward, but in terms of having a new project or new major investment in equipment I think there is some tendency to see how this [the tariffs] will impact."
Schroeder spoke to TheStreet on Tuesday at the 2018 KBW Community Bank Investor Conference, held by parent company Stifel Financial (SF) .
The U.S. farming industry has been in the spotlight since the Trump administration unveiled tariffs on China earlier in the year. Soybean prices have plummeted since, hurting many farmers. Farmers have also been hit by tariffs on steel and aluminum, which has raised their costs of doing business.
In May, farming equipment maker Deere & Co. (DE) highlighted that trade concerns were starting to weigh on its farming customers.
"While global trade concerns weigh on farmers, overall sentiment is holding as commodity prices move upward and equipment demand shows broad-based improvement," a Deere & Co. spokesman told analysts on an earnings conference call.
Deere will announce its latest earnings on Aug. 17.