AMES, Iowa — On January 16, the U.S. Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the final step before President Trump signs the trade bill. This news, along with Phase I of the Chinese trade deal, is welcome to cattle producers in Iowa.
“USMCA has been a top priority for our association, and we are pleased with the Senate’s vote. We urge President Trump to sign the agreement as soon as possible, in order to provide more opportunity and certainty to Iowa’s farmers, and especially our beef producers,” says Matt Deppe, CEO of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association.
As a whole, export markets add over $300 to the value of each head of cattle in Iowa, and Canada and Mexico are responsible for about $70 of that total.
Iowa’s 27,000 beef producers have enjoyed the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement over the past 25 years. NAFTA has provided duty-free trade with Canada and Mexico which adds gross value to the cattle that producers raise, feed and market in Iowa.
Mexico is especially important because of the demand for variety meats like tongue, tripe and heart. In the U.S., these cuts are nearly worthless. By exporting them, we are able to capture much greater value.
USMCA preserves the duty-free trade we have benefited from through NAFTA, and supports other agricultural commodities, as well. U.S. farmers export approximately $9.4 billion worth of products to Canada and Mexico annually. Of that total, $1.8 billion comes from the cattle industry and $3.2 billion is from corn and corn co-products.
The agreement was held up for several months as Democrats and Republicans sparred over labor, pharmaceuticals, and partisan politics. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has been aggressively advocating for Iowa’s senators and representatives to prioritize the needs of farmers in the state.
“I’d like to thank our board of directors and other members who have made phone calls, sent emails, and written letters to their congressional representatives over the past year. This trade agreement is proof that grassroots advocacy makes a difference,” says Deppe.
— Iowa Cattlemen’s Association
For more news from Iowa, click here.