DFA Urges Legislators to Keep U.S.-Mexico Border Open

April 2, 2019

In a letter to members of the House and Senate, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Smith urged “immediate action to ensure the U.S.-Mexico border remains open to U.S. dairy exports.” The communication to Congress is a reaction to a proposal by the administration to close the United States’ southern border, which would negatively impact an already struggling U.S. dairy industry.

DFA, owned by 14,000 dairy farmers across the country, expressed concern that the recent announcement risks the largest destination for American dairy products, accounting for more than one-quarter of all U.S. dairy exports.

“The dairy industry has worked together closely for more than two decades to grow and strengthen the market for U.S. dairy products in Mexico,” Smith said. “In the volatile dairy industry, strong dairy export markets are crucial for our farmer-owners, who have suffered years of financial stress on the farm. Mexico remains a key customer for our dairy farmer-owners, and we are asking Congress to work with the administration to keep our border open and quickly ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to ensure our robust trade partnership continues.”

Closing the border could put the future of the USMCA in peril and further strain key trading relationships that are already fragile as a result of recently imposed tariffs.

“We are in the worst rural economic recession since the 1980s,” Smith added. “Our farmer-owners need strong dairy markets, both at home and abroad to recover and continue providing wholesome dairy products for generations to come. The Mexican export market is critical to the longevity of our industry.”