These past two years, uncertainty has reigned in the agricultural world for the U.S. Unpredictable weather, prevent plant acres, and the extended U.S.-China trade war all come to mind as examples of uncertainty everyone that makes their living from agriculture have had to deal with since the end of 2018. Now, too, the emergence of the coronavirus is threatening to add an entirely new layer of uncertainty to mix when it comes to economic impact.
However, agriculture finally has some certainty, at least when it comes to selling goods and services to this country’s North American neighbors. Last week, President Donald Trump signed the long-debated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This legislation guarantees that agricultural goods from America can continue to move into the country’s key trading partners with zero tariffs attached to them. According to government statistics, Canada and Mexico are America’s first and second largest export markets for food and agricultural products. Annually, exports to the two countries total almost $40 billion and help support more than 325,000 American jobs.
“Today is a good day for American agriculture,” said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue of the agreement. “USMCA is critical for America’s farmers and ranchers, who will now have even more market access to our neighbors to the north and south.”
The agricultural industry agreed with this view. “This agreement will advance the relationship between two of the most important markets for American farmers and agribusiness,” said Agricultural Retailers Association President/CEO Daren Coppock. “Agricultural retailers and their farmer-customers will directly benefit from the expanded market access and the preserved zero-tariff platforms among ag products, which is a relief during a challenging time in the ag economy.”
Virtually every other agricultural trade association released similar statements of support for USMCA, including The Fertilizer Institute, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and the American Soybean Association.
So, as the 2020 growing season gets underway, U.S. agriculture can finally stop worrying about at least one uncertain element. Agricultural trade within North America is now a certainty.