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Farmers watching NAFTA negotiations closely

President Donald Trump has said the US would leave the agreement if he negotiates a better deal for the U.S., which could hurt the economies of Indiana and Ohio.

Posted: Feb 5, 2018 10:35 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2019 12:02 PM

DeKALB COUNTY, Ind. (WFFT) - Officials from the United States are trying to re-work the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.

NAFTA was created 24 years ago to help encourage trade among the countries. It also got rid of Mexico's high tariff's on goods.

President Donald Trump has said the US would leave the agreement if he negotiates a better deal for the U.S., which could hurt the economies of Indiana and Ohio.

NAFTA has encouraged companies to move manufacturing to Mexico. Many companies took advantage of that, including auto manufacturing companies and recently Carrier's Indianapolis plant.

However, renegotiating NAFTA could have a big impact on Hoosier farmers and the idea of leaving has many farmers worried because the deal is working for them.

"There are those pieces and those provisions that are immensely beneficial to agriculture. If those are given up or forgone at the expense of something else then it's really going to have some impacts here," said Sarah Delbecq, owner of Brechbill Farms.

Delbecq is one of many farmers keeping an eye on negotiations.

Her farm north of Garrett produces corn, and she says having NAFTA helps make U.S. agriculture more competitive in the global market.

"They're more likely to take our exports when there's an agreement like NAFTA in place," Delbecq says. "If NAFTA went away completely, then what they would likely do is go to other countries."

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly serves on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

He said the manufacturing portion of NAFTA is where the US is losing.

"I want to make sure it is reworked to benefit our manufactures as well," says Donnelly. "[We want to make sure] our manufacturers don't wind up being treated unfairly."

He added he wants to keep agriculture protections in place.

Mexico buys 25% of all the corn exported from the United States, which means big money for Indiana farmers. However, IPFW economist Zafar Nazarov sees things differently.

"It looks like farmers will be losing more than manufacturing is gaining," Nazarov said.

Delbecq said her farm could lose $80,000 a year if NAFTA goes away.

"Just a number like that, to have $80,000 go away in one year because of a removal of a trade agreement, can hit pretty close to home," said Delbecq. "[And] that's just our farm."

She added she's confident farmers will still benefit from a new agreement because former Indiana Director of Agriculture Ted McKinney is helping with the trade agreement.

"When someone who knows Indiana agriculture almost better than anyone is sent off to Washington to help protect trade and talk about trade when it relates to agriculture...you feel pretty good about having an advocate like that in place," Delbecq said.

The NAFTA negotiations have been going on for nearly seven months.

World leaders said they have missed several deadlines along the way, saying they'd rather have a good deal for everyone instead of a rushed deal.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 703345

Reported Deaths: 13194
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion959691716
Lake51222940
Allen38926670
Hamilton34288404
St. Joseph33770539
Elkhart27117431
Vanderburgh22034393
Tippecanoe21671212
Johnson17451374
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Hendricks16735310
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Madison12302337
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Monroe11385166
LaPorte10800204
Delaware10312184
Howard9617211
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Bartholomew7854153
Warrick7675155
Floyd7542176
Wayne6880198
Grant6773170
Boone6524100
Morgan6370138
Dubois6071117
Marshall5753108
Dearborn568075
Cass5671102
Henry5563100
Noble537983
Jackson492369
Shelby477795
Lawrence4332118
Gibson427389
Harrison426570
Montgomery416486
Clinton416053
DeKalb406684
Huntington376980
Whitley375539
Miami371465
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Steuben362657
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Washington230431
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Martin82415
Warren78915
Switzerland7698
Union69610
Ohio55511
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1048109

Reported Deaths: 18917
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1217031352
Cuyahoga1063982060
Hamilton779451165
Montgomery49883989
Summit45144907
Lucas39826760
Butler37638568
Stark31348894
Lorain24090472
Warren23835291
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Clermont19397228
Delaware17972130
Licking16089206
Fairfield15646196
Trumbull15521459
Medina14815259
Greene14613236
Clark13576288
Wood12709184
Portage12313194
Allen11303229
Richland11017198
Miami10511212
Muskingum8688127
Wayne8543209
Columbiana8527226
Pickaway8421120
Marion8360135
Tuscarawas8359239
Erie7540153
Ross6692145
Hancock6683123
Geauga6527146
Ashtabula6458164
Scioto6280100
Belmont5591158
Union556247
Lawrence5458102
Jefferson5283147
Huron5270113
Darke5264121
Sandusky5164119
Seneca5093118
Washington5074107
Athens499454
Auglaize474884
Mercer470384
Shelby455089
Knox4371108
Madison421058
Putnam420298
Ashland412086
Fulton407966
Defiance399996
Crawford3858100
Brown385555
Logan372276
Preble369598
Clinton359659
Ottawa355478
Highland346059
Williams323274
Champaign318556
Jackson306951
Guernsey305848
Perry289349
Fayette276948
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Hardin263563
Henry263166
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Holmes252699
Van Wert238662
Gallia233246
Pike232431
Adams227552
Wyandot226353
Hocking208958
Carroll188947
Paulding168538
Meigs141438
Noble132737
Monroe128841
Morgan106423
Harrison105336
Vinton81414
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