This is what your farmer leaders are discussing with the Illinois congressional delegation today: U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement. Farmers need this agreement ratified. And the sooner, the better.
But why is it a priority?
For starters, over 41 percent of Illinois corn leaves the state to a final market. When we include international sales of value-added products like ethanol, dried distillers grains with soluables (DDGS), red meat and poultry, exports are well over half of Illinois farmers market opportunities.
Mexico is our top U.S. market for corn, valued at $3.2 billion in the 2017/2018 marketing year with zero tariffs on U.S. corn and corn products. This equals 25 percent of total corn exports.
Since NAFTA began in 1994, U.S. ag exports have tripled to Canada and quintupled to Mexico. Having relied on these markets and these relationships for so long, we simply cannot be without them and maintain profitability for our family farmers.
Specific to the USMCA agreement:
- Maintains zero tariffs on U.S. feed grains, co-products and ethanol
- Sets a high standard for future trade agreements in areas critical to U.S. agriculture
- Includes an enforceable biotechnology chapter, the first ever in a U.S. trade agreement
- Creates a rapid-response mechanism to address trade challenges
- Instills confidence in other nations with whom we want to enter into future trade agreements