Farmers for Free Trade releases NAFTA report, heads to Montreal |

Farmers for Free Trade releases NAFTA report, heads to Montreal

Farmers for Free Trade, a group co-chaired by former Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., to defend the North American Free Trade Agreement, released a report on the threat of withdrawal in 10 states Jan. 23 and announced it is sending a delegation to the NAFTA negotiations this week in Montreal.

The report profiles the impact of withdrawal on Missouri, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, North Dakota and Minnesota.

“Just as farmers and ranchers have been among the biggest beneficiaries of NAFTA, they’d also be the ones to feel the most pain if America withdraws from the pact,” Baucus and Lugar said following the release of the report. “That’s because NAFTA withdrawal would result in a massive tax on the products American farmers grow and produce. These taxes would lead to fewer products sold and declining profits. They would result in our farmers selling less to Mexico and declining prices, which is the last thing farmers can afford — particularly right when prices are already low and global supplies are high.”

Farmers for Free Trade announced a briefing set for 11 a.m. Jan. 26 at the Marriott Montreal Chateau Champlain.

The group said that the following people will speak at the briefing and be available for interviews:

» Brian Kuehl, executive director, Farmers for Free Trade

» Angela Hofmann, deputy director, Farmers for Free Trade

» Darci Vetter, chief U.S. agriculture negotiator in the Obama administration and senior adviser, Farmers for Free Trade

» Scott Frazier, South Texas farmer and rancher and Texas Farm Bureau board member who grows cotton, grain sorghum, corn and wheat and raises cattle

» Karen and Tom Heyneman, ranchers from Absarokee, Mont.

» Ken Maschhoff, pork producer from Carlyle, Ill., and president of the National Pork Producers Council

» Terry Nelson, diversified cattle and hog producer from Kansas who also owns a grain elevator, feed mill and farming operation

Meanwhile, Canadian International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Canada will “be firm” in support of its supply management system for dairy, poultry and eggs, BNN reported.

The New York Times noted in an article Jan. 23 that NAFTA withdrawal could affect everyday products such as bacon, jeans and beer. In the article, Cullen Hendrix, an associate professor at the University of Denver, noted a pork cutlet served in Toronto may have started out as a piglet on an Ontario farm before being exported to the United States, and then reimported as meat.

Reuters reported NAFTA’s end could hit the U.S. poultry industry hard.

A study released Jan. 23 by the Business Roundtable said termination of NAFTA would result in the net loss of 1.8 million U.S. jobs within the first year.