Without NAFTA, North Dakota agriculture could be affected

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MINOT N.D.- A trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada, known as NAFTA could soon be coming to a close.

The North American Trade Agreement was implemented in 1994 and over time it eliminated most agriculture tariffs and quota restrictions among the three countries.

If President Trump gets his way and NAFTA ends, North Dakota could be impacted the most.

Agriculture is one of three industries that run the state of North Dakota.

"Agriculture is very important to North Dakota...it's the number one industry in the state and most of the people are either directly or indirectly employed through agriculture," said Myron Blumhagen, a farmer.

Most crops grown in the state get exported to other countries around the world, especially those with in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"NAFTA and the trade with both Canada and Mexico are critically important for not only all the major grain sectors that we have in the state but also all of the livestock and so very, very critical to supporting prices and kind of the economic health that we have in the state," said Dr. Frayne Olson, Crop economist and marketing specialist for the NDSU Extension Service.

But the Trump Administration is considering pulling out of NAFTA. Olson says if the US were to pull out of the agreement, there would short-term and long-term effects.

"The original shock value would be very tough, it would be a major impact and it would be very negative at least short term to prices. Now the longer term impact is a little fuzzy, a little cloudier to figure out because if we don't have that free trade agreement what's plan B?," said Olson.

Blumhagen says that the US should pull out of the agreement and re-work negotiations.

"NAFTA needs to be fixed the reason Canada is so opposed to the United States pulling out of NAFTA because they've got such a sweet deal that they don't want it re-opened to give the United States the upper hand," said Blumhagen.

There's no decision yet, but if it happens it could create a ripple effect in North Dakota agriculture.

Reports say the Trump Administration doesn't believe that the U.S. is getting a fair deal.

Negotiations will continue among countries.