Farmers are siding with lawmakers in pushing back against Mexico’s GM corn ban

As we have reported, the U.S. Trade Representative has initiated a technical consultation with Mexico over its proposed ban on GM corn imports.

Lynn Ketelsen shares how farmers are also pushing back against the ban:

As Minnesota farmers prepare for the 2023 planting season, a proposed ban on biotech corn imports by Mexico is hovering over the preparations. Mexico’s President had sought to ban imports of biotech corn beginning in January 2024. Mexico issued a revised decree in February that banned biotech corn for food use. It also left the door open for a future ban on biotech corn for feed. Minnesota corn leaders say the move was not based on science.

“Regulatory bodies around the world have declared that this corn is equivalent, it’s safe. We like growing it because we use less chemicals, it’s more sustainable for us,” said Richard Syverson, Minnesota Corn Growers President.

Most farmers plant biotech corn varieties, which industry leaders say are well studied and safe. They contend that losing the Mexico market would be detrimental to Minnesota farmers and Mexican consumers.

“Exports out of our state are like in the high 30, low 40 percent for corn, so we do have a big export for corn, and Mexico is one of the top countries we export our grain into. So, take all that grain and bring it back in and put that on top of our carryout and you can easily tell it’s going to bring our prices down,” said Bryan Biegler, Minnesota Corn Growers Chair.

“If you took out a customer the size of Mexico, obviously that’s going to have an impact on our corn prices, but it will also have an impact on the citizens of Mexico who would be forced to pay a higher price for the foodstuffs that they depend on,” said Syverson.

A formal process is underway to review Mexico’s ban because ag leaders say it’s a violation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

“If Mexico does this and carries through on this, essentially it says that their signature is not good on the document that they signed for that free trade agreement. And then, what other products, from microchips to automobiles, are we going to have trouble with on that agreement. This is foundational for how countries get along and work together, and this is just one small piece of how that whole picture is going to play out” Syverson said.

About 90 percent of corn grown in the United States is genetically-modified.