Two of the biggest issues President Trump focused on during his election campaign were ending illegal immigration, mainly from Mexico, and trade policy. And now U.S. corn farmers may feel the backlash of that agenda.
After proposing a 20% tax on Mexican imports to pay for the border wall, as well as an executive order to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), USA Today reported on Tuesday that Mexican Senator Armando Rios Piter plans to introduce a bill requiring the country to end corn purchases from the U.S. and instead import the crop from Brazil and Argentina.
“If we stop buying their corn, farmers would have a good idea how important Mexico is,” the article quotes Rios Piter.
And if the bill passes, farmers would likely feel the impact — Mexico was the top buyer of U.S. corn last year and imports around 27% of U.S. corn annually, about $2 billion worth, USA Today reports.
Iowa State University ag engineer Chad Hart was quoted that this news may cause some growers to increase their soybean acreage over corn.
In our February poll, we asked readers whether they plan to make any cropping changes for this year. As of Feb. 22, 2017, 50% did not plan to make any changes from 2016, while 21% said they would increase soybean acreage. Another 13% plan to plant more corn, while 8% will grow more specialty crops and 5% will increase small grains.
While this news may be troubling to farmers, given the already low crop prices and abundant corn supply, now may be a good time to look into getting away from the crop and diversifying your rotation. As Dakota Lakes Research Farm director Dwayne Beck would say, if there’s a weed, disease or insect in your field, it’s because nature is trying to add diversity to a system that lacks it. Beck addressed the importance of crop diversity — and how to achieve it in your system — in the following two No-Till Farmer podcasts:
It’s also worth noting that a joint Purdue University-USDA study rated soil health by crop rotations and found that rotations that included corn were the least healthy, with soil health scores dropping as corn was planted more often. The highest-rated soils were in land converted to perennial grasses, followed by soils that included small grains.
Are you concerned about recent developments regarding trade with Mexico? Do you plan to make any changes to your crop rotation? Leave a comment below and let us know.