It's been some time now that the ag economy here in our valley and across the nation has been mired in a severe depression. One might get the impression this is normal in the cyclic nature of farming and its allied industries.
Those in the industry know all too well the problem is much more than that. It has to do with political policies enacted by our government called NAFTA and WTO. These policies were to have the effect of expanding our markets and creating more trade, and thus, more prosperity for all.
It has partially achieved its goal. Prosperity is being achieved by foreign producers at the expense of our domestic ag industry because market protection has been, for the most part, cast aside, allowing foreign producers tremendous trade advantages.
On the surface one would get the idea this would be good for the U.S. consumer. In the short term it is. We'll all enjoy cheaper products and services. Meanwhile, domestic producers continue to struggle under the restraints of higher minimum wage levels, regulatory costs, higher taxation and higher costs for raw materials and other inputs. The playing field has become skewed in favor of foreign competition. Consequently, our domestic producers and allied businesses are going out of business at alarming rates.