Nebraska ag groups, elected leaders hail trade agreement
Gov. Pete Ricketts, Nebraska members of Congress and farm organization leaders on Monday all hailed word that the Trump administration has reached agreement with both Mexico and Canada on a new trade agreement.
“The importance of this new deal to Nebraska cannot be overstated,” the governor said.
“These two countries are top customers for Nebraska and are critical markets for growing trade opportunities,”
Steve Nelson, president of the 61,000-member Nebraska Farm Bureau, described the “new and improved free trade agreement (as) a major win for Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers and an important step forward in helping eliminate trade-related uncertainty in agricultural markets.”
Sen. Deb Fischer said she is “grateful to President Trump for following through on his commitment to negotiate a better trade deal between our three countries,” one that will “bring good opportunities to Nebraska producers and our state.”
Rep. Adrian Smith, who had participated in the negotiating process as a congressional observer on a couple of occasions, said the three-country agreement is “vital to Nebraska’s agricultural producers and our rural economy.”
The Nebraska Corn Board applauded the agreement, which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Since discussions of a NAFTA withdrawal surfaced more than a year ago, we’ve been working hard to remind the president, our congressional leaders, farmers and the general public how important Canada and Mexico are for ag trade,” David Bruntz, a Friend farmer and chairman of the Corn Board, said.
Mexico is Nebraska’s second-largest export market and Canada is third-largest, Ricketts said. The two countries purchased more than $2.4 billion in Nebraska exports in 2016, he said.
The top Nebraska agricultural exports to the two countries are corn, beef and soybeans, followed by sugar, ethanol and pork.