Farmers keep close watch on Trump's trade policy

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) President-elect Donald Trump is pledging to renegotiate the country's trade deals and that's causing a lot of uncertainty among farmers and the agriculture industry.

The farm belt helped propel Donald Trump to victory on election night, despite their difference on one key campaign issue.

In a YouTube video, the president-elect said he'd withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), calling it "a potential disaster for our country."

Now, farmers and industry experts are keep a close watch on Donald Trump's trade policy, an economic driver of American agriculture.

“We want to make sure that markets stay open. The export opportunities stay open and expand," said David Salmonsen, the senior director of congressional relations with the American Farm Bureau.

Salmonsen says with every presidential transition comes some uncertainty.

"This may produce anxiety in some people," Salmonsen explained. "A review of trade agreements is basically par for the course. This is a continual pattern over the last several decades of trade agreements."

If enacted, this deal with 11 other countries would cut trade barriers, including tariffs and open new markets allowing more imports and exports.

South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds says he hopes he can work with the administration to find a compromise.

“I think if he can make a better deal for producers, I'm ready to listen to him," Sen. Rounds said. "But, I like the idea of having trade agreements that allow our producers to compete on an even playing field with everybody else.”

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer operates a cattle ranch back home. She also plans to work with the incoming administration, while also representing the interests of farmers and ranchers.

“Trade is very very important to state of Nebraska," Sen. Fischer said. "So, I know we will be visiting about that. We are going to be talking about rules and regulations"

Trump has also been vocal about renegotiating or withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which allows for free trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Salmonsen says he doesn't think this will impact farmers.

“I always viewed that as being much more talking about the manufacturing sector. I don't think the Agriculture sector was really singled out," he said.

President-elect Trump has yet to name an Agriculture Secretary. Experts say, once this position is filled; a more robust conversation on agricultural trade is likely to take shape.

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