The farmer listened during the 2016 campaign as Donald Trump, the real estate magnate turned politician, promised to end the North American Free Trade Agreement. Hemseath, a Republican whose industry relies heavily on exports to Mexico, chalked it up to political bluster, noted Hillary Clinton’s anti-trade rhetoric and voted for Trump in November.
Now that Trump is looking to make good on his promise, Hemseath — and countless corn, soybean and dairy farmers like him — are worried the President’s NAFTA rhetoric could directly impact the markedly narrow margins that provide them their livelihood. The same rural communities that animated Trump’s campaign, would feel the brunt of changes to the trade deal, hurting the President’s political base as he tries to make good on a key component of the campaign that got him elected.
“Trade got a bad rap in the campaign,” Hemseath told CNN. “Mexico is extremely important to my farm and to corn farmers in general because they are one of our top consumers of corn. It is very important to have access to the market.”