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New Report Details NAFTA’s Failures for
Family Farmers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico

Missouri Rural Crisis Center
Columbia, Missouri

Missouri farmers have launched a campaign calling on the state’s Senators and Representatives to reject fast track trade authority and the Bush Administration’s proposal for expanding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to 34 countries in the Western Hemisphere. Far from being the solution to the contracting rural economy, NAFTA has only hastened the trend toward low market prices, corporate concentration, and expansion of corporate livestock factories.

A report released this week by Public Citizen,” Down on the Farm: NAFTA’s Seven Years War on Farmers and Ranchers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico,” outlines NAFTA’s failures since it was implemented in 1994: 

  • The overall agricultural trade surplus has declined from $22.5 billion per year to $12 billion in 2000, a 47% decrease.
  • Corn exports have decreased 11%, and corn prices have decreased 20%.
  • Wheat exports have decreased 8%, and wheat prices have decreased 28%.
  • Cotton exports have decreased 28%, and cotton prices have decreased 38%.
  • Soybean exports have increased 16%, but the price has fallen by 15% creating a net loss of 2% in the value of our soybean export market.
  • The $416 million dairy deficit has climbed to $796 million.
  • A $21 million beef surplus has declined to a $152 million beef deficit.
  • U.S. workers lost 766,000 manufacturing jobs, with Missouri losing more than 16,000 of the national total.

Bill Christison, Chillicothe farmer and Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC) President, spoke at a press conference in Washington, D.C., where the trade report was released. "Corporate agribusiness and their political allies have been spending millions to tout the benefits of 'free trade' for a long time now, and they've sure got their money's worth. They're making record profits while farmers are going broke."

Christison believes that current farm and trade policy debates are crucial for Missouri family farmers. "We need a farm bill that pays farmers a fair price, creates a farmer-owned reserve, and curtails corporate concentration."

“To hear the Bush Administration tell it, the only thing we need in a farm program is fast track trade authority and the expansion of NAFTA,” said MRCC director and Howard County farmer Roger Allison. “It’s high time we recognize farmer and rural communities rights over corporate control of the food supply. We’ve got to demand international trade policies that reflect cooperation and democracy over corporate greed.”

The Missouri Rural Crisis Center is a farm and rural organization with more than 5,500 member families from all over the state. Our mission is to preserve family farms, promote stewardship of the land and environmental integrity, and strive for economic and social justice by building unity and mutual understanding among diverse groups, both rural and urban. The Public Citizen Report is available on-line at <>

For more information, contact the Missouri Rural Crisis Center at (573) 449-1336, or email

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Published in In Motion Magazine, July 5, 2001.

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