Farm groups including the National Corn Growers Association, the American Farm Bureau, and the U.S. Grains Council gave testimony Tuesday during hearings on the North American Free Trade Agreement. The farm groups told the U.S. Trade Representative’s office that concerns over the renegotiation effort have disrupted relationships with U.S. agriculture customers and that a new NAFTA should protect the market gains agriculture has developed. U.S. Grains Council Chairman Chip Councell says buyers’ concerns in Mexico are translating into dollars lost in farm country. He says that the last several months have highlighted how important it is to maintain a strong, stable relationship with U.S. trading partners. A representative of the American Farm Bureau Federation says a new NAFTA agreement must not only protect market gains but build upon them. Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft says: “A modernized NAFTA should at best eliminate, at worst reduce, barriers to trade that keep our farmers and ranchers from having a level playing field with our neighbors.” AFBF says that NAFTA renegotiations present a prime opportunity to address challenges fruit and vegetable farmers have faced with Mexico, as well as a chance for dairy, row crop and wheat farmers to settle issues with Canada.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.