NOW IS THE TIME: Contact Congress about how trade affects your livelihood

19-mcconnell-w.jpg

Farmers across the nation are joining together to let Congress and the Administration know the importance of trade to their businesses and market sustainability, specifically the US Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Through a coalition called Farmers for Free Trade, individuals are signing on to the letter at the right, as well as making phone calls, sending videos, and visiting their lawmakers during the recess.

“It is critical that our members reach out to their legislators now to help get this bill across the finish line,” said Mark Roberts, president of the Kentucky Corn Growers Association and farmer from Henry County. “This is an all hands on deck moment for this issue.”

Kentucky farmer leaders visited lawmakers last month during the semiannual Corn Congress. In addition to USMCA, they let Kentucky’s Congress members know their constituents were interested in better trade policy all around.

“Our Kentucky delegation was very receptive to our messages during our recent fly-in to Washington,” KyCorn Executive Director Laura Knoth remarked. “They understand the impact trade has on our farm communities, but they need additional encouragement from our members to take this up as soon as they return in September.”

Send a message through NCGA’s Legislative Action Center

Contact your legislator directly

See what other farmers are saying at Farmers for Free Trade

The following letter was signed onto by many farmers in July and early August:

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, Leader Schumer:

On behalf of America’s 2.5 million farmers and all Americans involved in the food and agriculture supply chains -- we are writing to urge you to quickly pass the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) signed by the three countries’ leaders more than six months ago.

Each day without action on USMCA is another day of uncertainty for American farmers and our rural communities.

Each year, U.S. food and ag industries export $20.5 billion in goods to Canada and $18.6 billion to Mexico. Those dollars are what keep our farms and manufacturing facilities open. Those dollars are the backbone of our rural communities supporting Main Street USA.

Today, however, farmers as well as food and ag businesses are struggling. The combination of record low prices, devastating weather episodes and uncertain markets have had a dramatic impact on our families, our friends and neighbors. Our communities are facing a significant increase in farm bankruptcies that ripple through the food and ag supply chains and hurt main street businesses throughout rural America.

Uncertainty in trade has had a major impact on U.S. agriculture. We have suffered from retaliatory tariffs, lost market share, and watched while America’s competitors are seen as more reliable trading partners. The reasons for this crisis are manifold but providing certainty about continued trade with two of our three largest export markets would provide America’s farmers and food manufacturers with a needed boost.

Simply put, U.S. farmers and food and ag businesses need a win – now more than ever.

We have a rare opportunity to bring Congress together to quickly help U.S. food and ag; North American trade is an area where we know both parties can cooperate. The USMCA builds on the success of NAFTA and modernizes and updates that agreement with important provisions that support U.S. agriculture, manufacturing, and services as well as drive American innovation and competitiveness. With both Mexico and Canada moving to implement the trade deal, it is time for the U.S. Congress to engage and adopt this agreement.

Ratifying USMCA is a top priority for the nation’s agriculture community. We look forward to action from both parties in the House and the Senate and are asking that you work together to pass the USMCA as soon as possible. We are counting on our elected officials to champion the folks back home and appreciate your urgent action.

tradematters-2019.JPG

usmca-facts.JPG
Policy, TradeJennifer Elwell