NEAR PRESTON, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The past few years have certainly been a trying time for farmers, especially those in the dairy industry. It's hoped things will now turn around with the signing of the US, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The USMCA replaces the previous trade pact known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
David Scheevel is a National Milk Producers Federation Board of Directors member. He's also a dairy farmer near Preston and was invited to be at the White House when President Trump signed the USMCA on January 27th.
"It's a once in a life time experience I guess," said Scheevel. "I was 8-10 feet away from the President while he's giving a speech."
"I am in support of it, the dairy industry in particular has gotten really efficient where our production is growing," said Scheevel. "We're to the point where 15 percent of our production has to be exported in order to maintain the industry that we have."
"American farmers are very good at what we do," said Minnesota Pork Producers Association Board President Dave Mensink. "And therefore we produce more than we need domestically. Export markets are very important to our industry."
"Well certainly, I think it's fair to say that dairy is one of the big winners in the Ag space because we're the sector that probably saw the most changes, in the Ag universe at least, under USMCA compared to NAFTA," said National Milk Producers Federation Trade Policy Vice President Shawna Morris.
Proponents of the USMCA say the deal preserves the market access the U.S. has with Mexico and increases the dairy market access the U.S. has in Canada for a range of different products.
"By creating new tariff rate quotas, so we can ship tariff free up to certain specified quantities of products," said Morris. "That's access we don't have today and are looking forward to getting under USMCA."
"Mexico has been our largest dairy export customer and once the trade wars started we lost some of that and with [USMCA] we do get that back," said Scheevel. "The other part that does help us a lot is Canada was dumping skim milk products on the world market and depressing the prices on those and that effected the price that the American dairy got paid for milk. So this will cure that and bring some those prices back to where they should be."
In terms how long it will take for the impact of the USMCA to be felt,
Morris says some benefits could be seen within the next few months and others won't be felt until early 2021.