Illinois corn farmers are reacting positively to news of a renegotiated NAFTA pact. The new North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and its neighbors Canada and Mexico should be finalized next month.
Illinois Corn Grower Association President and corn farmer Aron Carlson says corn farmers send more than half of their crop out of state and that Mexico is an important market.
“A lot of our exports that actually come out of Illinois do go to Mexico, so it’s important to keep those outlets or options or customer in play,” Carlson said.
He said the reaction from Illinois corn growers has been very positive and that news of the new deal delighted farmers.
“It’s definitely going to be a positive,” Carlson said. “The market did react in a positive way for both corn and soybeans as soon as the deal was done.”
It’s been a tough year for Illinois corn growers. The weather has been soggy all summer leaving fields muddy during this fall harvest. Corn prices have dropped 13 percent this year and so have corn exports to China. Carlson said news of this deal has him hopeful that movement on trade with China could be next.
“Yeah, we really would love to have the trade agreement worked out with China,” he said. “It gives you a little hope that maybe we can get something done on China, too, as we move forward that there is an honest effort going on.”
Last year, Canada and Mexico imported $3.2 billion of U.S. corn products, and Mexico is the leading importer of American corn. The new deal eliminates the worry that Mexico would go elsewhere to buy corn. Details of the pact were finalized by the White House and could be signed by all parties by the end of November.