South Dakota Farmers Hope Ag Economy Prospers
As South Dakota’s number one industry, everyone from Main Street to the Governor’s mansion has a stake in the success of the agriculture industry.
Corn and soybean prices have fallen about 75 percent since earlier this decade. South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal spoke with the Patrick Lalley Show and relayed those soft markets have severely impacted the bottom line.
"In South Dakota, net farm income in 2011 was $3.8 billion. Last year was about $800 million. As net farm income goes down, farmers don't spend as much in town whether it's pickups and tractors or upgrading their homes or whatever it is."
Additionally, the Trump administration has suggested renegotiating NAFTA which could change the ability to market crops and livestock internationally. VanderWal stated that NAFTA has been a success for agriculture.
"(United States) trade with Canada and Mexico was about $8.9 billion in 1993 and it went to $38 billion in 2015. We've been spending a lot of time working with the Trump administration to help them understand what a good deal (NAFTA) has been for agriculture. If they want to improve the trade deal for other areas and other industries, that's great, but don't use agriculture for leverage."
After the President spoke at a convention of the American Farm Bureau in early January, Vanderwal feels confident that Trump and his team understand agriculture’s significance in trade deals.
Over time NAFTA has allowed the U.S. latitude to lower tariffs when trading with Canada and Mexico which has benefitted South Dakota farmers.