As the U.S. imposed March 1 deadline rapidly approaches for a trade deal with China, it hasn’t just been the soybean industry negatively impacted in agriculture. The hardwoods industry has also been feeling the pain from the tariff tit-for-tat with China. Randy Cole with Cole Hardwood in Logansport points out that the industry in Indiana is robust.
“Actually, agriculture in the harvest wood industry is more than farming. They employ more people; I think somewhere around 278,000 people in the state.”
Cole says the trade war with China has been crippling for his industry and his company.
“About 40 percent of all the timber in this country eventually ends up in China. Whether it goes over there in log form or boards that get cut up by sawmills and sold through companies like Cole Hardwood. For Cole Hardwood, China is probably 45 percent of all our business right now. So, with the tariffs like they are, it’s been really tough on our company.”
Cole is hopeful that the reports of progress during talks this week in DC are true. He’s ready to get things back to business as usual.
“We’re trying to hold on to our employees in this tight market for labor, we don’t want to lose anybody, but we really need this thing settled pretty quick and get back to doing business.”
The trade implications for the hardwoods industry was likely a driver behind the Indiana State Department of Agriculture recently unveiling a new strategy to grow the hardwoods industry in the state. You can read more about that here.