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Farmers Strongly Favor Renegotiation of NAFTA
U.S. farmers and ranchers, who voted overwhelmingly for President Trump last fall, solidly support renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, says a Purdue University survey of producers, despite farm groups’ fears of a disruption in trade. The monthly Ag Economy Barometer said 83% of respondents favored renegotiation and 61% believed the revised pact will benefit U.S. farmers.
Producers gave a similar answer – 63% – when asked how renegotiation would affect the U.S. economy overall. “However, the single most-common response to this question from survey respondents (25%), was an expectation that the outcome from renegotiating NAFTA would be neither favorable nor unfavorable, providing a rating of five on the nine-point scale,” said the Purdue economists overseeing the Ag Barometer.
It was the first time that Purdue asked producers about NAFTA. In earlier surveys, 93% of producers said exports were important to the agricultural economy, and 80% said they were important to their own farms. The USDA says exports provide 20¢ of each $1 of farm income. Trump vowed during the campaign to rewrite NAFTA or to abandon the 1994 trade agreement.
Talks among Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. could begin as early as mid-August. The two U.S neighbors account for one third of U.S. food and ag trade because they are top customers for U.S. exports – Canada is No. 2 and Mexico is No. 3 globally – and the top two suppliers of U.S. food and ag imports.