The announced trade policies of President Donald Trump have the potential to hurt Nebraska agriculture and the prosperity of our state. American agriculture is highly productive and produces far more agricultural products than can be consumed domestically. We need and depend on foreign markets. Approximately 60 percent of soybeans produced in Nebraska go to overseas markets and China purchases 60 percent of our soybean exports.
American agriculture enjoys what economists call a strong comparative advantage. Simply put, we can grow agricultural products more efficiently and in greater abundance than any other country due to our large agricultural producing area, excellent climate, advanced technology, application of scientific knowledge and the infrastructure to bring crops to market.
We feed America and have another third of our productivity to help feed the world. We thrive on free markets but are also dependent on them to make our agriculture profitable.
President Trump has already taken the United States out of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Pact — a trade agreement The Grand Island Independent has previously supported. Nebraska farm groups expressed their disappointment in that decision and calculated the loss in potential sales over the next decade to be in the billions.
Trump has said that he wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Pact, which dates back to 1994. American agriculture has benefited immensely from that agreement. From the perspective of Nebraska agriculture, NAFTA continues to benefit all three countries. We question the wisdom of trying to change the agreement, particularly at this time.
More information on The Independent