American farmers take immense pride in providing food for not only those of us here at home but also markets across the globe.
With 20 percent of U.S. agriculture products sent overseas, maintaining these markets and capitalizing on new opportunities is critical to the financial stability of rural America.
Dairy farmer Steve Hoffman put what’s at stake into simple terms: “the more markets we have, the better off we are.”
Hoffman joined Farm Policy Facts from his farm in New Ulm, Minnesota to share with Groundwork listeners how momentum is building both across the heartland and within the halls of Congress to move immediately on the ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Prospects for passage of the so-called USMCA received a big boost in recent weeks as the United States and its trading partners reached agreements eliminating or avoiding tariffs tied to metal imports and immigration policy.
Hoffman recently hosted a Farmers for Free Trade event at his farm to rally support for USMCA and shine a light on how it will help turn the tide for America’s farmers.
USMCA will lock in access for agricultural goods to two of our most important markets. In 2018, Canada and Mexico were the top export markets for U.S. agricultural products, and a recent International Trade Commission analysis stated that USMCA would boost U.S. agricultural and food exports by $2.2 billion.
This is big news for rural America.
Like so many other farmers, ongoing trade disputes and the weak rural economy have shaken Hoffman’s confidence that he will be able to continue operations for much longer. “We really, really need those export markets to get things going here and rebuild those trade relationships,” he says.
With falling farm incomes and rising bankruptcies stoking fears of a farm crisis reminiscent of the 1980s, expanding trade is more important than ever.
Successful completion of USMCA will broaden the market for high-quality American agricultural goods and strengthen farm prices. And increasing trade opportunities will benefit not only U.S farmers and ranchers, but the communities that rely on them as well.
Let’s bring USMCA across the finish line. Rural America is counting on Congress to immediately schedule a vote to ratify this important trade pact.
Hear more from Hoffman on the latest episode of Groundwork by visiting FarmPolicyFacts.org or subscribing on iTunes.