Wade Cavitt: New Mexico farmers need new trade deal
By Wade Cavitt
Feb. 24, 2019
For farmers and pecan growers in New Mexico, the most important action Congress can take this year will be passing the new NAFTA – now called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA). For my state, trade with our top export markets in North America is critical to our economy, as well as my community and our family farm.
For six years now, my wife and I have grown pecans in Lovington. We have 1,100 pecan trees that turn out 60,000 pounds of pecans in a good year. We also help the local economy by operating our own shelling plant where small family operations can bring their crops for processing.
In 2017, growers in New Mexico turned out 92 million pounds of pecans. Pecans growing on 43,000 acres of land had a value of $220 million. Our state is the second-largest producer of pecans in the United States at a time when the global consumer demand for pecans is only increasing. That record year of 92 million pounds was an impressive increase of 28 percent from 2016.
USMCA will help our country by continuing our long-term contracts with our No. 1 and No. 2 trading partners.
The time to act is now. We need our New Mexico congressional delegation to stand with us on these critical issues. North American trade is about trust and long-term sustainable relationships. Passage of the USMCA will help restore confidence in our farm economy, and it will also provide needed stability for farmers like me to plan for the future.