President Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are primed to have a good working relationship once the Governor-elect assumes office next week. With that being said, Governor-elect DeSantis is being asked to use his good working relationship with the President to rally efforts in hopes of helping farmers in the sunshine state fight against low-priced crop imports.
Members of Governor-elect DeSantis’ Transition Advisory Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture brought up the concern that NAFTA’s rewrite didn’t properly help Florida farmers competing with growers in Mexico.
Joshua Kellam, a member of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and a committee member of the Governor-elect’s team, noted that “We are the producer for the United States in the winter months for vegetables. The longer we get beat up by some of these other countries, we’re just not going to be able to have the product that the United States needs.”
Another committee member, Jake Raburn, also a former state House member, noted that the rewrite has been signed by the President but not ratified by Congress. He added that the deal must recognize Mexico “heavily subsidizing” specialty crop production. Raburn is also an agriculture marketing specialist who was vice chair of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee for the last two legislative sessions.
Further explaining the matter, Raburn comments that “We know the new president in Mexico has committed to adding an additional 2 million acres of subsidized crops, fruits and vegetables specifically. We know that they’re subsidizing the cost of greenhouses. They’re subsidizing the cost of infrastructure as it relates to fertilizer, water infrastructure, and that’s not free trade.”
However, Congressman Brian Mast, who won his reelection bid for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, says that he’s not worried about Governor-elect DeSantis letting farmers down.
He explains, “Our Governor-elect is very well positioned to have that conservation with the president. That’s certainly one of the best things we can say about that relationship and the willingness at the federal level, our executive branch, to go out there and put America first.”