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Farmers Optimistic About NAFTA Renegotiations

U.S. farm groups are somewhat wary, but farmers are downright enthusiastic about an overhaul of NAFTA. In a Purdue University poll of 400 producers, 83% of respondents say they are in favor of renegotiation – one of President Trump’s campaign promises – and 62% say they expect the revised agreement would benefit U.S. farmers. 

The results are in line with earlier surveys by Purdue for its Ag Economy Barometer. Nine of 10 producers say exports are important to the ag economy, and eight of 10 say exports are important to their own farms. Negotiations to revise NAFTA could begin as soon as this month. Canada and Mexico account for one third, or $85 billion, in U.S. food and ag trade.

When the administration asked for advice on U.S. goals at NAFTA, grain and commodity groups said to avoid trade disruptions while trying to expand sales. Dairy groups targeted Canada’s supply-management system. Vegetable growers said they are losing ground to lower-priced Mexican produce.

Japan replaced Mexico as the number one customer for U.S. corn in the opening months of this year, $1.189 billion in purchases vs. Mexico’s $1.043 billion, says USDA data. The peso lost value during that period, and Mexico explored South America as an alternative supplier.

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