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Illinois Farmers Could Take A Hit If Mexico Ends Corn Trading With U.S.

The United States relationship with Mexico has been rocky since President Trump took office. Now, local farmers could be paying the price. A senator in Mexico wants to end the country's corn trade with the United States, which would hit Illinois hard, considering it's one of the country's top corn distributors.

If the bill is passed in Mexico, the state of Illinois could lose millions of dollars. Local farmers said this will not just impact them, but the effect could hurt everyone.

"It could definitely make a difference," Jeff Jarboe, a local farmer, said. "I mean, when we're talking times here where we're barely breaking even on our corn prices, every little bit helps."

If the bill is passed, Mexico would no longer buy any corn from the U.S. Instead, it would get corn from South America.

The threat of a corn boycott is in response to President Donald Trump's stance on the U.S./Mexico border wall.

It's not just farmers who could take a hit, but the entire state.

"If the farmers don't have their money to purchase all the inputs and stuff, then the rural communities, they suffer,” Jarboe said.

If farmers sell less corn, then they can't produce as much. That would hurt the economy. Eventually, consumers would pay the price.

"It's also the ripple effect that the whole economy is going to face," John Accord, an Illinois resident, said. "We're going to see price increases, we're going to see a lack of production.”

In 2016, Illinois exported more than $202 million of corn and corn co-products to Mexico.

In a statement, the Illinois Corn Growers Association said, in part:

"After years of relationship building, Mexico became the top buyer of U.S. corn in 2016, we will continue to advocate trade opportunities that reduce barriers like tariffs and quotas with any foreign market because trade should be a win for both sides."

Farmers said they will have to find a way to make up for lost revenue if this does become reality, but are hopeful an agreement will be reached.

Some school districts could also take a hit if this happens, as the tax revenue they see from farmers could also decline.

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