Farmers are concerned as NAFTA talks end

Grain piled up outside the Scott City elevator.

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Trade talks ended in Montreal today to renegotiate the NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Meanwhile, President Trump has suggested exiting the agreement all together.

“If the US would pull out of NAFTA, that would be very bad for the Kansas farmer and the Kansas economy,” said Kearny County farmer Kyler Millershaski.

Huge grain excesses remain in the US, more grain than what can fit into elevators.

“We have so much crop in this country now, so much surplus, that the export is key,” said Finney County farmer Boyd Funk. “If we lose any export, the price will plummet.”

Kansas easily exports a lot of its grain to Mexico. Farmers say that if tariffs were added on to those exports, shipping grain elsewhere would cost more.

“The rail transportation from here to Mexico is so good for us,” said Funk. “If we take it to anywhere else in the world, it has to go on rail and then a ship, so Mexico is the easiest to get to for us.”

“Mexico is our number one customer for wheat for corn for beef for pork for poultry,” said Lane County farmer Vance Ehmke. “Why do we want to get out of NAFTA?”

Congressman Roger Marshall agrees that NAFTA is key to the Kansas economy.

“When I sat down with Vice President Pence about a month ago,” he said, “I said if we lose NAFTA, not only are we going to lose farmers, you might as well roll up rural, downtown western Kansas.”

Some say that would weaken President Trump’s support within his base.

“I think that would not be a good thing for his support,” said Millershaski. “I agree with him, we do need to re-negotiate it. I’m hoping that his threats to pull out is just a negotiating tactic.”

Millershaski remains cautiously optimistic.

“They say you can’t rush a good thing but also I don’t like dragging our feet like this.”


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