Mexican official threatens to halt U.S. corn imports, worrying local farmers

Mexican official threatens to halt U.S. corn imports, worrying local farmers

Local farmers have expressed concern over the possibility of Mexico halting imports of American corn, Rock County Farm Bureau president Doug Rebout said Tuesday.

According to USA Today , Mexican Sen. Armando Rios Piter said he planned to introduce a bill in the country’s Legislature requiring the country to stop importing corn from the United States and instead import it from Argentina or Brazil.

The senator said the proposal stems from President Donald Trump’s “anti-Mexican position.”

Trump has proposed a 20 percent tax on Mexican goods to pay for the border wall he promised during his campaign.

Mexico recently surpassed Japan as the No. 1 importer of U.S. corn, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Farmers have already been dealing with low corn prices compared to previous years, and Rebout, who owns a farm outside of Janesville, said any cut in exports would have the potential to hurt Wisconsin farmers even more.

“We’re farmers. We’re businesspeople, and trade means money,” Rebout said. “The less trade, the less income that we make here on our farms.”

Rebout said the good news for farmers is that most corn grown in southern Wisconsin goes to livestock and ethanol, lessening the potential impact from an import stoppage.

“It will be a hit, (but) it won’t be a major hit,” Rebout said.

Rebout said farmers will have to wait and see how America’s relationship with Mexico will affect business going forward.

“There’s nothing we can do. All we can do is continue to talk to our legislators and talk to different people,” Rebout said. “As farmers, we’re doing the best job we can. We’re raising the best crops we can, and we’re just hoping that people down the line help us out by being able to get rid of these products.”

Groups such as the Wisconsin Farm Bureau had also advocated for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which President Trump nixed soon after taking office, fulfilling one of his campaign promises.