Were saying hello to the world again.

Thats the simplest way to understand last months elections in Argentina, in which the party of reform-minded President Mauricio Macri made important legislative gains, picking up seats in both chambers of our Congress.

Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)

As a farmer in Argentina, Im pleased by this political victorybut Im even more encouraged by what it means for my countrys general direction.

For too long, weve faced inward rather than outward. Although Argentina grows a huge amount of food and depends on global trade for its prosperity, we have behaved as if none of this mattered. The previous government slapped huge export taxes on farm products and didnt consider the consequences. We stepped away from the world market.

This wasnt my decision, but rather the decision of former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the head of the Peronist Party. When she took office a decade ago, export taxes were already highand she worked to raise them even more.

The American President Ronald Reagan once made a wise observation: If you want less of something, tax it.

Kirchner and her allies had targeted one of the most successful sectors of Argentinas economy. Our farmers produce about ten times the amount of food we need to feed our population of nearly 45 million. On my farm of 3,500 acres, southwest of Buenos Aires, we grow soybeans, corn, sunflowers, sorghum, wheat, oats, and barleyand the vast majority of it turns into exports.

Argentina is a breadbasket for the world. The money we make from our overseas customers underwrites our domestic prosperity. Farmers account for something like 70 percent of our exports.

It makes no sense to cut this lifeline. And yet thats exactly what we had started to do. The result was both sad and predictable: reduced production, a stagnant economy, and widespread unhappiness.

We have to take a longer view. As a fifth-generation farmer, I cant help but think this way. Im always focused on the next harvest, but Im also planning for my children and grandchildren.

This is why Im devoted to sustainable agriculture, from the no-till practices that prevent erosion to the advances in biotechnology that allow us to grow more food on less land. When we pass on our inheritance to our descendants, the soil must be even more fertile than it was for our ancestors.

Yet sustainability isnt just about the environment. Its also about economicsand the need to make sure that we can make a living as farmers who are also good stewards of the land.

Export taxes threaten this. They give us less of a good thing.

It might be said that we are victims of our own success. As Argentinas farmers have become more productive and efficient, we have fewer people growing foodand now many of my countrymen have a poor understanding of where their food comes from, even if many of them are involved in other areas of the food value chain.

This includes politicians. When they see farming is a mere abstraction, they can make the mistake of thinking that export taxes wont affect anyone but farmers.

Pedro Vigneau at the 2017 Global Farmer Roundtable

But thats wrong. Were all connected. In an economy that depends on exports, closing the door to the world market is a bad idea.

The election of President Macri two years ago began to change this. He pledged to cut export taxes. He has done so and also has introduced a plan to continue these reductions through 2020.

Combined with other much-needed reforms on labor and pensions, these steps have started to push our economy forward. Octobers mid-term elections served as a stamp of approval: The people support President Macris moves and want more.

We have much to do. Although Argentina continues to lower taxes, theyre still too high. Farmers also would benefit from improved infrastructure, so that we can move our food to ports more easily. Moreover, we need better access to financing. We must modernize our intellectual property laws, too.

Separately, we farmers must do a better job of communicating with the public, showing people what we do and how our prosperity is linked to theirs.

These challenges must be understood in the welcome context of our reengagement with the world. Since the elections, stock prices have gone up and the peso has strengthened.

Thats what happens when you say hello to the world: It says hello back.