WASHINGTON — In a Jan. 6 letter to President-elect Donald J. Trump and Vice President-elect Michael Pence, a coalition of 16 farmer organizations called on the incoming administration to protect and enhance the positive impact of agricultural trade on jobs and growth in rural America. The groups also noted the special importance of trading relationships with China, Canada and Mexico, US farmers’ and ranchers’ first-, second- and third-largest export markets.
“We know that securing positive benefits for American farmers, ranchers, and workers in trade will be a priority in your administration,” the groups stated. “This includes enforcing existing agreements so that other countries abide by their commitments, as well as expanding market access for US producers through new agreements. As the Trump administration assembles its team and policies, US agricultural trade interests must be maintained, not only in existing markets but by expanding access to new markets.”
The producer groups pointed out US agricultural exports in fiscal year 2016 were nearly $27 billion to China, more than over $24 billion to Canada, and nearly $19 billion to Mexico.
“Disrupting US agricultural exports to these nations would have devastating consequences for our farmers and the many American processing and transportation industries and workers supported by these exports,” the grower groups asserted.
“Throughout the campaign, Trump and Governor Pence committed to having farmer voices at the table when decisions are made that affect our industry,” said Ron Moore, an Illinois soybean and corn farmer and president of the American Soybean Association. “Nowhere is the potential effect more serious than in our trading relationships, and as such, we look forward to partnering with the Trump administration on these issues. As we noted in the letter, exports account for more than 60 percent of domestic soybean production, as well as more than 70 percent of US production of tree nuts and 50 percent of rice and wheat. As go our trading partnerships, so goes the success of our farm economies.”