Majority of Iowa pork producers want to see the fundamental foundation of the North American Free Trade Agreement remain intact.
Changes in the U.S. approach to trade and a renegotiation of NAFTA have gained considerable attention in both the United States and Canada.
Pat McGonegle is CEO of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Speaking to Farmscape Online, he says his organization is working with the National Pork Producers Council to make sure the legislative thought leaders know just how important NAFTA is to Iowa pork producers.
“Certainly export or trade is very important to our business, particularly in Iowa, because we only have three million people and we either export it out of the state to our fellow states or out of the country to our fellow countries so the discussion about trade has certainly heightened producers’ interest in the issue. Obviously getting fair and equitable trade as we move forward is important.”
McGonegle says NAFTA has been very beneficial to Iowa producers.
“Obviously, it opened up some markets for U.S. pork products to move a little bit more freely and cost competitively. But I think the second part of it that’s come along is it’s really built relationships. There’s many producers in Iowa that have very good relationships with producers here in Manitoba, so it’s opened up not only the market place but the people part of it too.”
McGonegle says Iowa producers want to build upon the positive foundation that’s in place today.
He says there’s discussion about doing some tweaks to NAFTA and maybe they do that and maybe they don’t but producers do not want to fundamentally crack the foundation that’s been laid since the inception of NAFTA in the 1990s.
*Bruce Cochrane of Farmscape Online contributed to this report.