"We've been gambling up to this point," says Tim Bardole, a soyabean farmer from Iowa.
After the price of soyabeans crashed last summer, he held on to most of his harvest and waited for the market to recover.
But seven months later, and with large loans to repay, he sold up. "We decided we'd better take what we have," he says.
The cause of the crash was a 25% tariff on American soyabeans imposed by China, the world's biggest importer,
as one shot in the trade war between the two countries. Yet peace is supposedly in the offing.
The two countries are locked in negotiations over a deal, ahead of a deadline of March 1st that has been imposed by America
(though on February 19th President Donald Trump declared the timing to be flexible).
That Mr Bardole cut his losses despite those talks is not that surprising.
Even if the tariff is lifted—which is far from certain—the past year's disruption will probably leave a permanent scar.
The trade war caught American soyabean farmers at a particularly bad time.
They had just planted a bumper crop, encouraged by strong demand and a drought in Argentina, a competitor.
When the tariff was implemented it was too late to switch to other crops such as corn.
Demand from China—which in 2017 accounted for 60% of American exports—collapsed. The result was a glut.
To replace American beans China has ramped up its imports from Brazil, pushing up prices in South America.
Meanwhile the European Union, Mexico and even Argentina have been tempted by low American prices—but not enough to replace lost Chinese demand.
To help American farmers cope, Mr Trump's administration handed them a one-off payment of $1.65 per bushel ($61 per tonne).
Without it Mr Bardole would have lost money on this year's crop.
He might have sold his crop anyway, but the support has allowed others to sit on theirs.
Farmers will have 25m tonnes of beans in stock at the end of this year's selling season, according to an official estimate, up from 12m tonnes last year.