Ken Maschhoff, chairman of the largest U.S. family-owned pork producer, has watched profits fall as trade tensions rise between the United States and China.

His company, The Maschhoffs, has halted U.S. projects worth up to $30 million and may move some operations overseas. Investing in domestic operations now would be "ludicrous" as China and others retaliate against U.S. agricultural goods, Maschhoff said from the firm's Carlyle, Illinois, headquarters.

Across the globe, Chinese pig farmer Xie Yingqiang sent most of his 1,000-pig herd to slaughter in May to limit losses after Chinese tariffs on U.S. soybeans hiked feed prices and left him unable to cover his costs.