NAFTA Renegotiations Weigh Heavy on Texas and U.S. Agriculture Industry

Agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico brought in $3 billion last year and supported more than 18,000 jobs.

By Laura RiceMarch 2, 2017 8:39 am,

A blanket of red covers the map of rural Texas counties where President Donald Trump won a majority of votes in November. It tells quite the story. Though rural Texas overwhelmingly supported Trump on Election Day, one of the president’s top priorities to renegotiate NAFTA may put him at odds with the interests of farmers and ranchers.

A new report by the Center for North American Studies at Texas A&M found Texas agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico had an economic impact of more than $3 billion last year – supporting more than 18,000 jobs.

Luis Ribera, the center’s director, recently presented the findings of his study to the Texas Agriculture Commissioner and the Texas Agriculture Council.

“When we met with Commissioner Miller, we had representatives for every major producers association here in Texas,” Ribera says. “The producers there were addressing their concerns about … NAFTA renegotiation and how important those markets are for agricultural producers in Texas and in the United States.

New numbers from the study, Ribera says, emphasize the importance of open trade markets in allowing the Texas and the U.S agricultural industry to thrive.

“More than a third of the farming income here in the U.S. comes from our exports,” Ribera says. “We have a trade surplus in agriculture and it is very important to keep our markets open, especially now with low mobility prices.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– What these first of their kind numbers say about the impact of NAFTA on agriculture

– Why this data is only now being released

– How closely are agricultural stakeholders in Texas following this conversation about renegotiating NAFTA?

Written by Morgan O’Hanlon.