Op-Ed: NAFTA Concerns Show Why Farmers Must Pay Attention To Trade

By Tom Sleight, President and CEO, U.S. Grains Council 

Some days don’t go how you expect them to go. 

I have had many of those in my career, but few like this Wednesday, when we thought for 12 hours that we could soon see action from our own government to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

Immediately and obviously we – and the larger agriculture community – knew how critical this situation could be. 

U.S. Grains Council Statement On Potential NAFTA Withdrawal

Washington, D.C. - A statement from U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight:

"We are shocked and distressed to see news reports that the Trump Administration is considering an executive order to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"Mexico and Canada are among our largest and most loyal grain export markets, and our organization has worked closely with partners in both countries for more than 30 years.

USGC Chairman: Mexican Buyers Need To Hear Supportive Farmer Voices

U.S. grain farmers are voicing their support and appreciation for trade with Mexico, a message U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Chairman and Maryland farmer Chip Councell carried with him when he traveled to meet with Mexican buyers in March. 

“If you look at the logistics of Mexico, no other country can replace it as a customer for U.S. grain,” Councell said this week to the National Association of Farm Broadcasting about the mission. “The logistics by rail, truck and boat give the United States such a huge advantage.”

Audio: USGC Mexico Director Offers Positive Market Outlook Due To NAFTA

Mexico is currently the top importer of U.S. corn, the #2 customer for U.S. distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and a leading buyer of U.S. barley and sorghum, making it a critical market for our nation’s farmers. 

Ryan LeGrand, U.S. Grains Council's (USCG's) director in Mexico, was recently interviewed by the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) about the state of the market there and the outlook for the future. 

U.S. Ethanol Exports Up 85 Percent In First Quarter of 2016/2017 Marketing Year

Exports of U.S. ethanol are off to a strong start for the first quarter of the 2016/2017 marketing year and are at their highest levels during that time frame over the past five years, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS).

Exports totaled 353.2 million gallons for the months of September, October and November 2016, the first quarter of marketing year 2016/2017.

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