A new Nebraska Farm Bureau (NFB) report shows a NAFTA withdrawal would have a big impact on the agricultural industry.
U.S., Canada, and Mexico trade representatives are currently negotiating new terms to the agreement enacted in 1994.
Farm Bureau examined NAFTA’s importance to every county in the state and it found one of the hardest hit would be Phelps County.
The southcentral Nebraska county could lose as much as $56,000 annually, per farm and ranch, if the U.S. withdraws from NAFTA.
Jay Rempe, NFB economist, says Nebraska has more at risk than some other Midwestern states.
“If we back out of NAFTA, the tariffs that were in place, prior to NAFTA – the WTO – will come into place,” Rempe tells Nebraska Radio Network partner Brownfield Ag News. “That will make our product not competitive into Mexico, so then our product has to find somewhere else to try to go.”
He says finding other markets could be cost-prohibitive.
“Given the transportation cost and a variety of other things,” Rempe says, “I think we’re at a little bit of a disadvantage in trying to find additional markets or other places to go with our corn, with our beef, and the like.”
Rempe says Farm Bureau supports a modernization of NAFTA, if it results in more agricultural trade with Canada and Mexico.
Ken Anderson, Brownfield Ag News, contributed to this report.