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Ag and business sectors seek trade certainty



Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) hosted lawmakers, agriculture and business leaders at a forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last week.

The forum aimed to address the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Wisconsin Farm Bureau president Jim Holte says the message was clear: trade is important.

“I think they were intent on making sure our elected officials know that this is very important to us currently and in our future,” Holte said. “Walking away from a trade agreement like this, where we have basically taken down trade barriers, would be a huge step backward and curtail the ability of the business and agriculture communities to plan for their future.”

Holte says agriculture depends on the international trade.

“It is certainly critical to agriculture,” Holte said. “On average, (the) commodities we produce leave this country at a rate of about 20-percent of our total production. If we were to takeaway that international market, I think our domestic market would almost crash with the overweight of our ability to produce.”

Holte says certainty in trade is critical moving forward

“Five years is probably not long enough for a lot of those businesses to create a series of contracts and have a certainty for their future. When they cannot know that certainty is their, how are they going to invest in future operations for their business,” Holte asked.