Ag Chat with Kristin Smith- Jan. 29th

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- As the talks continue to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement in Montreal, the top negotiators will be present as they have concluded their meetings in Davos, Switzerland. The top negotiators for Canada and Mexico believe that NAFTA can be renegotiated and it will result in a "win, win, win" situation for all three countries. But Canada's Foreign Minister did say that hasty negotiations should be avoided. So far it doesn't look like this round of talks will result in a renegotiated NAFTA agreement. The 7th round of talks will be in Mexico City toward the end of February.

Source: MGN

And several farm groups are still pushing the Trump Administration to not withdraw from the deal as it could be devastating for U.S. agriculture. Recent data released from the USDA on the share of total agricultural exports for 2016 for the United States, breaks down which states depend heavily on NAFTA. In 2016, Vermont had the highest percentage going through NAFTA at 80 percent of its agricultural exports. North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware and Missouri followed with lower percentages while Wisconsin was at 52 percent. Of the 52 percent, 12 percent of agricultural exports went to Mexico while the other 40 percent of agricultural exports went to Canada.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the U.S. is still open to multilateral trade agreements, despite an initial Trump administration preference for bilateral deals. While the Trump administration has been criticized for its lack of engagement in multilateral deals, including its withdrawals from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate accords, the administration's desire to make changes to current practices does not mean it will not be a world leader. Ross pointed out that the U.S. is still involved in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and stressed the administration's willingness to participate in multilateral agreements provided member countries are open to equitable tariffs.

The applications deadline for Wisconsin's 71st Alice in Dairyland is this Thursday February 1st. So, if you know of any young ladies that are Wisconsin residents, that are over the age of 21, with an interest in agriculture, have them submit those applications. She will start her new job as Alice on June 4th and will receive a $45,000 a year salary. The new Alice will be selected May 17-19 in Adams County.

And we'll be seeing some new faces at two of our extension offices for 4-H. In Eau Claire County Miranda Nelson will be the new 4-H Program Coordinator working with the families and kids involved in 4-H. She's no stranger to Eau Claire County as she was once a 4-H member herself. And also new is Luisa Gerasimo. She will be taking the lead as the 4-H Program Coordinator in Dunn County.

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