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Stauffacher: Dairy farmers rely on free-trade deal

Tuesday, April 10, 2018   (0 Comments)
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By: Aaron Stauffacher for Wisconsin State Journal

It’s no secret the North American Free Trade Agreement has been a success for the United States agricultural community as North America has developed into a major market for the commodities and products from our farms. Now, this success story is in jeopardy as U.S. officials renegotiate the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.

Many in Wisconsin might not know the vital role NAFTA plays in our economy, but those in the dairy community do. U.S. dairy exports to Mexico now account for about 3 percent of all U.S. milk production. That equates to supporting 1,500 U.S. dairy farms and sustaining 30,000 American jobs, many of which are in Wisconsin.

Since NAFTA was signed in 1994, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada have quadrupled, now standing at around $38 billion each year.

As our leaders negotiate, they should keep in mind the critical role NAFTA plays when it comes to Wisconsin’s dairy and other agricultural communities. Uncertainty over these negotiations is already causing some in Mexico to consider alternatives. That’s something we cannot let happen.

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