Trade Agreements in Spotlight at ASGA Meeting — President Trump’s focus on renegotiating trade agreements is getting attention at this week’s American Sugarbeet Growers Association annual meeting. Executive Vice President Luther Markwart says it is unclear how NAFTA would be renegotiated.
"I know he is anxious to do it, but, since we haven’t done one of these renegotiations before, there’s not much precedent for it. We’re going to have to wait and see how it plays a little bit and not speculate too early in the process.” Markwart says sugar will always be part of any trade negotiation.
'America First' Philosphy Welcomed by Beet Industry — The sugarbeet industry has a simple message for the new Trump administration. "For sugar, that 'America First' philosphy would keep our industry strong, protect us where you need to and don't take another pound of sugar that we don't need in our country," said Duane Maatz, executive director, Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association.
Maatz says the suspension agreement between the U.S. and Mexico needs to be fixed. "We were supposed to have a hard stop on October 1st and that got pushed to December and now we're pushing to March. We know that with the agreement to have action taken in March has another two month delay, so we could be looking at May or June without having this thing fixed."
With every day that passes without renegotiating the Mexican trade agreement, Maatz says the U.S. industry is losing money.
Change the Dates and Move Ahead — At the American Sugarbeet Growers Association annual meeting, the farm bill is a discussion point.
Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association President Dan Younggren, who farms at Hallock, wants status quo. "To be honest, all we want to do is change the dates and move ahead. We're happy with what we have. Our biggest thing is we don't want any more, but, we certainly can't take anything less." Younggren says crop insurance is another priority issue.
Young Farmers Hurt by Tight Economy — Mexico continues to dump subsidized sugar on the U.S. market. Euclid, Minnesota farmer Paul Rutherford, who is a member of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association board, says something has to happen or it will hurt the future of the industry. "We have young growers and I think we could lose them because of this. Stock prices, land rents and everthing, it just adds up.
The young growers that we need to take over and replace some of us who are getting older, are having a struggle with this."
Source: Red River Farm Network (rrfn.com)