A report released Monday says a potential U.S. withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement would harm Nebraska's agricultural industries.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau says its report, “North American Free Trade Agreement and Nebraska Agriculture," provides a dollars-and-cents breakdown of the value of NAFTA to farmers, ranchers and Nebraska counties.
“Today, nearly half of Nebraska’s total agriculture exports are bound for Canada and Mexico, our NAFTA partners," Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president, said in a news release. "While we’ve known for years that NAFTA plays a critical role in providing underlying price support for Nebraska agriculture commodities, this economic analysis quantifies what this agreement means at the farmer, rancher, and county levels.
“What it clearly shows is that withdrawing from NAFTA, or renegotiating in a way that harms agriculture trade, would be damaging.”
The report identifies the 2016 export value of individual Nebraska agriculture commodities to both Canada and Mexico. Analysis in the report also assigns a dollar value of NAFTA on a unit basis for individual agriculture commodities, demonstrating how NAFTA supports commodity prices, but also what the loss of NAFTA could mean.
For example, the report shows that NAFTA exports of soybeans and soybean meal in 2016 were worth $1.28 per bushel of soybeans produced in Nebraska.
It also shows NAFTA exports are worth $38.22 per head of beef, $22.16 per head of pork, $0.21 per bushel of corn, and $0.75 per bushel of wheat, using 2016 NAFTA figures.
“There’s no denying NAFTA is vital to providing price support for our agriculture products," Jay Rempe, Nebraska Farm Bureau senior economist and author of the report, said in the release. "Ultimately, that support has a positive ripple effect in supporting farm income, which works its way through in positively supporting our state’s overall economy.”
The report also examines the per-farm/ranch and per-county implications of NAFTA, as well as examining the value of NAFTA on a commodity-by-commodity basis for each Nebraska county.
It concludes that Platte County has the highest value of NAFTA agricultural imports at $34.5 million, while Phelps County has the most at stake in NAFTA on a per farm/ranch basis, with the trade agreement estimated to be worth $55,468 to the average agriculture operation in that county.
The full report is available on the Nebraska Farm Bureau website, nefb.org.