Dear Editor: It is no secret NAFTA has been a success for the U.S. agricultural community as North America has developed into a major market for the commodities and products from our farms. Now, this success story is in jeopardy as U.S. officials renegotiate the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.

That’s why I attended a recent meeting held by the U.S. Small Business Administration to discuss the current events surrounding NAFTA.

Many in Wisconsin might not know the vital role NAFTA plays in our economy, but those in the dairy community do. U.S. dairy exports to Mexico now account for about 3 percent of all U.S. milk production. That equates to supporting 1,500 U.S. dairy farms and sustaining 30,000 American jobs, many of which are in Wisconsin.

Farms in Wisconsin and across the country heavily depend on free and open trade created through NAFTA. Since the agreement was signed in 1994, U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada have quadrupled, now standing at around $38 billion each year.

As national officials continue to negotiate with our northern and southern trading partners, they should keep in mind the critical role NAFTA plays when it comes to Wisconsin’s dairy and other agricultural communities. The uncertainty over these negotiations is already causing some of our customers in Mexico to consider alternatives. That’s something we simply cannot let happen.

Aaron Stauffacher

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associate director of government affairs

Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative

Green Bay

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