Local farmers voice concerns with tax reform bill, NAFTA to Rep. Noem in Watertown

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WATERTOWN, S.D. Congress approved tax reform late last year and next on the agenda is NAFTA. It's a trade deal that has a target on its back, but farmers have concerns about a future without the program.

Some South Dakota farmers have some concerns as they closely follow negotiations with the North American Free Trade Agreement, also known as NAFTA.

"Why do we have to tie all of our things we grow out of the soil and everything, why do we have to tie them with industrial and cars and clothing and stuff? It should be a separate category," Modak Dairy Co-Owner Greg Moes said.

Modak Dairy, located in Goodwin, SD, ships over 15% of their dairy products overseas. So, when President Donald Trump says that withdrawing from NAFTA is an option, it could cause some financial issues for area farmers.

"The products that we're making that are fractioning off of dairy products. It's a big market for us to be able to transfer these across lines, so that's probably going to be one of the bigger hits," Moes said.

Representative Kristi Noem shares some concern as well.

"A couple of times I've heard the president say things that made me wonder about his commitment to NAFTA, but in talking with him and talking to the Secretary of Agriculture, they clarify that their intention is not to withdraw," Rep. Noem said.

Farmers have hope that the new tax reform bill will be good for agriculture.

"If we're taxed on certain dollars, it isn't right because it's all passed through," Moes said. "Farmers don't take money and squirrel it away, farmers take money and it grows within the communities."

Rep. Noem and many local farmers have high hopes that President Trump will come to a conclusion soon with NAFTA instead of withdrawing.