Farmers and ranchers across the country took to Twitter on Wednesday to let the President and other administration officials know that staying in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a win for farmers. Corn growers from around the United States tweeted about the economic benefits of NAFTA, which supports 25,000 corn industry jobs and stimulates the rural economy.
For the past twenty-three years, NAFTA has been a landmark trade success story for U.S. agriculture, particularly grains. U.S. corn and corn products (ethanol, DDGs and corn gluten feed) have duty free access to Mexico and Canada under NAFTA. Mexico has become the number one trading partner for U.S. corn, buying 25 percent of all exports. Since 1994, U.S. corn exports to NAFTA partners have increased more than seven-fold. In the 2015-2016 marketing year alone, U.S. exports of corn to Mexico and Canada totaled more than 14 million metric tons, valued at $2.68 billion.
For America’s corn growers, this market access can mean the difference between profit and loss. Corn and corn product exports are responsible for 33 percent of growers’ gross farm income.
“Farmers and ranchers from all sectors are sending a powerful message to the President about the importance of remaining in NAFTA,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “America’s corn growers stand with the Administration as it negotiates an improved trade agreement, but it must ensure that these vital markets remain open to U.S. agricultural exports.”
Agricultural exports are a major driver of the U.S. economy with far-reaching benefits for farmers, American workers and consumers. They support more than one million American jobs and every dollar of agricultural exports creates an additional $1.27 in business activity.
The fifth round of NAFTA negotiations wrapped up in November. Informal discussions are expected in December, leading up to the sixth round of formal negotiations January 23-28, 2018.
“NCGA is following the NAFTA negotiations closely and working with allies in Congress and the Administration to preserve these critical markets for U.S. corn and corn products,” added Skunes.