Tariffs on imported steel and aluminum signed into action by President Donald Trump Thursday could have an adverse effect producers of a major U.S. crop.

The tariffs will increase levies on imported steel 25 percent, and imported aluminum 10 percent. As the world’s largest importer of steel, these tariff -- which go into effect 15 days from signing -- will affect several countries. Chief among these where agriculture is concerned is China, which has already identified U.S. soybeans as a possible point of retaliation to the tariffs.

American Soybean Association President John Heisdorffer quickly released a statement condemning the action.

“These tariffs are a disastrous course of action from the White House,” he said. “They may lead to retaliation by one or more of our valuable trading partners, which in turn will kneecap demand for soybeans in a time when the farm economy is struggling. We have heard directly from the Chinese that U.S. soybeans are prime targets for retaliation.”

Soybeans are a prime target for retaliation. The U.S. isn’t the only player in the game when it comes to soybean production. Argentina and Brazil are in direct competition with the U.S.

President Trump saw opposition from his own party leading up to the tariffs, many who fear an unnecessary trade war.

Great Bend Farmer and Kansas Soybean Association committee member Charles Atkinson said he understands the president’s motives, but doesn’t think it is worth the potential dangers to agriculture.

“We understand what the president is trying to do by putting the U.S. first,” Atkinson said. “But this time soybeans have been singled out as a specific item for retaliation. It’s never a good deal when agriculture gets put on the trade war block.”

The president exempted Canada and Mexico from the tariffs, and included the option to exempt Australia at a later time.

Atkinson said currently it feels like a “wait and see” situation.

Chance Hoener’s agriculture roots started on farms and ranches in Southeast Kansas. Now he covers Kansas agriculture as the editor of Kansas Agland. Email him with news, photos and other information at choener@hutchnews.com or by calling (620) 694-5700, ext. 320.