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Farmer details impacts of Mexico's possible import ban of GMO corn

Posted at 3:58 PM, Dec 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-01 18:49:49-05

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY (NBC 26) — A decision in Mexico could have an impact on an Outagamie County farm.

If Mexico bans genetically modified corn, the effect would be "a pretty significant loss," said Zac Soltvedt, owner of G & Z Farms near Seymour.

Two hundred acres of corn are grown on the farm, Soltvedt said.

"The way the demand and supply works, if you don't have much demand, our prices are going to go down," Soltvedt said.

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador this week reaffirmed a commitment to ban imports of GMO corn for human consumption, the Associated Press reported. That ban, according to a previous decree, is set to take effect in early 2024.

López Obrador said that Mexico will study whether to also ban imports of GMO corn for animal feed, the AP reported. The corn Soltvedt grows is GMO, and most of it is exported, so his farm could be affected by a Mexican ban.

More than 90 percent of corn grown in Wisconsin is GMO, according to data from the group Wisconsin Corn. Overall annual exports of the crop are valued at more than $200 million, a Wisconsin Corn representative said.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Mexico's president this week. Vilsack released a statement that reads, in part:

"We made it abundantly clear that Mexico’s import ban would cause both massive economic losses for Mexico’s agricultural industries and citizens, as well as place an unjustified burden on U.S. farmers."

John Heinberg, a market advisor with Total Farm Marketing in West Bend, said corn prices are determined by supply and demand.

Heinberg said corn is "a major driver of the [agriculture] economy here in Wisconsin."

"So, from the economic side, obviously if prices are suppressed and we lose that income, that's going to come back and affect the overall general economy in the State of Wisconsin," Heinberg said.