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.

Confirmed Cases: 34574

Reported Deaths: 2134
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9853578
Lake3616190
Allen161869
Cass15877
Elkhart132228
St. Joseph127434
Hendricks116971
Hamilton115993
Johnson1105108
Madison58659
Porter53928
Bartholomew51135
Clark50441
LaPorte43323
Howard40828
Tippecanoe4023
Jackson3891
Delaware38537
Shelby37322
Hancock33827
Floyd31839
Boone31535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2742
Montgomery24117
White2358
Noble23221
Clinton2321
Decatur22431
Grant21122
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry18211
Greene16924
Vigo1698
Dearborn16821
Monroe16612
Warrick16628
Lawrence16324
Miami1401
Putnam1377
Kosciusko1351
Jennings1304
Orange12822
Scott1203
Franklin1108
Ripley1096
Marshall1082
Carroll932
Daviess8816
Steuben832
Wayne825
LaGrange812
Wabash782
Newton7810
Fayette777
Jasper671
Washington521
Jay520
Clay511
Fulton491
Rush472
Randolph473
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley423
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen351
Brown331
Perry330
Wells320
Benton300
Huntington282
Knox280
Tipton251
Blackford252
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke180
Gibson172
Posey160
Adams151
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35513

Reported Deaths: 2155
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5862262
Cuyahoga4444226
Hamilton2672150
Marion266628
Lucas2267242
Pickaway207437
Mahoning1431174
Summit1420173
Butler89329
Columbiana79353
Stark72791
Lorain68759
Montgomery66316
Trumbull57348
Belmont42912
Warren37321
Miami35730
Tuscarawas3434
Ashtabula33934
Medina33722
Delaware33713
Portage32557
Lake30812
Wood29446
Clark2856
Geauga28432
Wayne27450
Fairfield2676
Licking24810
Allen21232
Mercer2117
Clermont2115
Richland2003
Erie17214
Darke17021
Madison1567
Washington11819
Crawford1144
Morrow1071
Greene1015
Ottawa9916
Putnam9214
Sandusky7911
Monroe7812
Auglaize733
Ross712
Hocking694
Jefferson672
Hardin610
Huron581
Williams551
Union521
Muskingum520
Hancock501
Clinton431
Shelby433
Wyandot412
Fulton410
Fayette400
Coshocton400
Logan390
Holmes391
Preble371
Guernsey351
Defiance342
Carroll313
Lawrence300
Brown291
Champaign281
Highland251
Knox251
Vinton212
Seneca202
Ashland200
Athens181
Perry181
Scioto160
Henry150
Paulding140
Jackson140
Adams101
Harrison100
Gallia81
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 70°
Angola
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 70°
Van Wert
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 70°
Sun Continues Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events