Farmers nervous about potential U.S. departure from NAFTA

Farmers nervous about potential U.S. departure from NAFTA
Jan 02, 2018

Pork producers at risk of losing millions

By Kate Ayers

Staff Reporter


Pork producers worry about losing big if the United States withdraws from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Randy Spronk of Spronk Brothers farm in southwest Minnesota, for example, said his operation could face a loss of more than $2 million in yearly revenue if the U.S leaves NAFTA, according to a Central Main article yesterday.

“Mexico is the U.S. pork industry's number two export market and Canada is number four. … Between the two (countries), they account for about 40 percent of our exports,” Dave Warner, director of communications for the National Pork Producers Council, said to today.

In 2016, the U.S. exported US$799 million worth of pork to Canada and US$1.36 billion to Mexico.

Last year, U.S. producers exported nearly $40 billion worth of agricultural products to Canada and Mexico.

“If we can’t sell into those markets, that means pork production will decrease in this country. And that means we are buying less corn and soybean meal, so those industries (may also be) affected. … It’s not good,” says Warner.

Some 90 ag and agri-food companies signed a letter to President Trump in the fall explaining the potential damage of NAFTA withdrawal on the nation’s agricultural sector, according to the Central Main article.

“If we were to withdrawal and lose those markets, we are talking about a $1.5 billion (revenue loss). That’s (equivalent to costing) more than $12 per pig,” Warner said.

“For a lot of guys (this change) could be the difference between being profitable and taking a loss. Which is why this (potential NAFTA withdrawal) would be such a big economic hit to our producers.”   

 Ag groups still stress to the president to “do no harm” as trade discussions continue.