Grain organizations voice concerns over U.S. trade relationships

Grain organizations voice concerns over U.S. trade relationships
Feb 16, 2018

Some farmers feel the industry is being left behind in negotiations

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

U.S. grain groups are worried about the potential impacts of a world without two important trade agreements.

American agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have quadrupled since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect. Ag exports have increased from $8.9 billion in 1993, to $38.6 billion in 2015, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Despite those figures, President Trump has repeatedly expressed the need to renegotiate the deal or withdraw from the pact completely.

And an international trading landscape without NAFTA is troublesome, according to U.S. grain producers.

Withdrawing from NAFTA “would be particularly catastrophic for Indiana corn farmers,” Sarah Delbecq, president of the Indiana Corn Growers Association, told reporters during a conference call yesterday, according to The Journal Gazette.

And Purdue University predicted losing NAFTA result in corn and soybean prices dropping by as much as 50 cents per bushel, she said. A price drop of that amount would result in her farm alone losing $80,000 per year, she added.

With uncertainty looming around NAFTA and the American withdrawal from the Tans-Pacific Partnership, growers are questioning where they fit into trade equations.

“We’re being left behind,” Stacey Satterlee, executive director of the Idaho Grain Producers Association, told KMVT11 yesterday. “Because countries are negotiating trade agreements, other countries are moving forward with the TPP and the United States are not part of those conversations.”

Agriculture is one of the hardest hit industries when it comes to trade inequality, according to Wayne Hurst, a farmer in the Cassia and Minidoka counties and past president of Idaho Grain Producers.

“When there are trade wars, agriculture is always the first casualty,” he told KMVT11.

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