The American agricultural lobby thought that President Trump’s trade politics would spare farmers and others in agriculture. Politico’s Morning Ag Report says it was the rural and red-state turnout that put Trump over the top in the presidential election. Trump has threatened to issue a formal intent to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement and agriculture can’t seem to get its message through.
The U.S. exports nearly $18 billion of agriculture goods to Mexico, with exports the main profit driver in agriculture. However, Politico says those numbers don’t seem to be registering with the negotiators. “To be honest with you, it’s difficult, because even though we have a lot of support from people within the Trump Administration, the president has made comments that have obviously caused us a lot of concern,” says Kent Baucus, the International Trade Director for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Now that the threat of withdrawal seems more like reality, rather than a bargaining tactic, there’s also a growing recognition that agriculture may not have put together an effective strategy to counter the threat. Gordon Stoner, a Montana farmer who leads the National Association of Wheat Growers, says the only solution may be a grassroots campaign in which farmers, ranchers, and others, stand up and demand action.