May 14,2015

Press Contact:

Aaron Fobes, Julia Lawless (202)224-4515

Expanded Trade: A Boon for American Agriculture

Farmers, Ranchers Across the Country Tout the Benefits of Trade

Time and again history has shown strong trade agreements that open foreign markets to American agricultural products have benefited the industry and the American economy as a whole. 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, exports of U.S. farm and food products to countries where America has trade agreements in place increased by more than 130 percent – from $24 billion to $56 billion a year – between 2003 and 2013.

With Congress starting debate on Trade Promotion Authority legislation, farmers and ranchers across the country have touted the benefits of expanded trade and called for the renewal of this bipartisan trade tool. 

Here’s a look at what they are saying:

JIM WEBB, UTAH PORK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION:Utah in 2014 sent $12.3 billion of goods, including more than $530 million of agricultural products, to foreign destinations. Trade supports more than 374,000 jobs in the state, with more than 700 of them in the hog industry, including farmers, processors and input suppliers. So Utah farmers like us — and businesses throughout the state — benefit tremendously from trade, particularly with countries with which the United States has FTAs.” (Jim Webb OpEd in Salt Lake Tribune, “Hatch trade bill would be good for Utah,” 5/11/15)

Kim Swenson, North Dakota Corn Growers Association: “Open access to global markets also means our farmers can take advantage of the growing demand for American corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle, dairy, vegetables and other products. Here in North Dakota alone, we exported more than $4 billion of agricultural products to other countries in 2013. That’s real profit to our farmers that is spent in our communities supporting our schools and roads. We can do even better with Trade Promotion Authority.” (Kim Swenson, Letter to the Editor in Grand Forks Herald, 05/11/15)

BOB NAEREBOUT, IDAHO CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION & DARAGH MACCABEE, GLANBIA FOODs: “Our industry has grown far beyond the consumption needs of our state’s citizens, and in the process brought thousands of good-paying jobs and billions of dollars into the state through dairy product sales across the U.S. and the world. For that growth to continue, the United States must look to open new foreign markets for our goods and services.” (Bob Naerebout & Daragh Maccabee OpEd in Idaho Statesman, “Idaho dairy representatives like Crapo vote on trade,” 5/10/15)

Brad Burbrink, Indiana Soybean Alliance Board: “Trade is good for Indiana farmers. We send every fourth row of soybeans grown in the state to China, and opening up new markets is a priority for Indiana farmers.In 2013, Indiana’s top five agricultural exports were $1.7 billion of soybeans, $442 million of soybean meal, $429 million in feeds and fodder, $410 million of corn and $307 million of pork. And every dollar of agricultural export creates an additional $1.27 in business activity for our economy.” (Brad Burbrink, Letter to the Editor, Trade Promotion Authority good for farmers, economy,” 05/10/15)

Ron Gray, U.S. Grains Council: Some people think new trade pacts would mean Americans giving up on opportunities. In agriculture, we know better because our business is fundamentally global: our crops are subject to weather patterns and diseases that know no national boundaries, prices are set on world markets, and customers live on six continents. Everyone eats and everyone wants enough of the best-quality food they can afford.” (Ron Gray OpEd in The Southern Illinoisan, “Free trade is vital for farmers,” 5/01/15)