The North American Free Trade Agreement has been good for some Georgia farmers, especially in the poultry industry. But the head of Dickey Farms in Musella says the trade pact could use some tweaks. For example, Mexico bars the import of peaches like those grown at Dickey Farms. (Photo Chris Hunt/Special)
Photo: Chris Hunt
Photo: Chris Hunt

Georgia peach farmer says changes to NAFTA could help boost business

Robert Dickey is interested in seeing what comes out of negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement. Dickey Farms in Musella, which has been in his family for five generations, could benefit from a few tweaks, he said.

Though the 15-year-old trade deal helped increase the peach farmers’ business with Canada, Mexico does not allow the crop to be imported into the country. The crops produced by Dickey Farms also include pecans and lumber.

“In the past the feeling has been when we go into trade treaties like NAFTA, we feel like it’s a one-way street,” he said. “We let them bring everything in, but they’re still preventing peaches from entering Mexico and it would be a huge market for us.”

Dickey said he understands why President Donald Trump wants to look at the agreement. He believes there are farmers who’ve benefited from the deal, such as those who raise poultry, but other areas need to be addressed.

“I don’t think you throw out the whole treaty or the main parts of it,” he said. “But I think there’s nothing wrong with going in commodity by commodity, market by market, country by country and seeing where things could be more advantageous for the U.S.”

Dickey said if nothing else is done, he hopes the treaty is implemented as he believes it was structured.

“(Trump is) a great negotiator,” he said, “so I think it’s a healthy thing to go back and re-examine those things.”

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