ASA, farm groups stress importance of ag trade with Trump administration

by Holly Demaree
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Soybeans
The groups highlighted significant economic contributions and job creation due to the U.S. farm sector.
 
WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. – In a letter to President-elect Donald Trump and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence on Jan. 6, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and a coalition of 15 other 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, U.S. 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 wrote. “This includes enforcing existing agreements so that other countries abide by their commitments, as well as expanding market access for U.S. producers through new agreements. As the Trump administration assembles its team and policies, U.S. agricultural trade interests must be maintained, not only in existing markets but by expanding access to new markets. Existing markets include China, Canada and Mexico— U.S. farmers’ first, second, and third largest foreign customers. U.S. agricultural exports in FY-2016 were nearly $27 billion to China, over $24 billion to Canada, and nearly $19 billion to Mexico. Disrupting U.S. 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 groups further highlighted the significant economic contributions and job creation of the U.S. farm sector, as well as the critical nature of expanding overseas markets for American agricultural products.

“Agriculture and agriculture-related industries contributed $835 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2014, a 4.8% share,” the groups wrote. “Our industry employs millions of hard working Americans. In 2014, 17.3 million full and part-time jobs were related to agriculture – about 9.3% of total U.S. employment. Food manufacturing accounts for 14% of all employees – the largest single sector.”

Ron Moore, an Illinois soybean and corn farmer and president of the ASA, added, “Throughout the campaign, Trump and Gov. Pence committed to having farmer voices at the table when decisions are made that affect our industry. 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% of domestic soybean production, as well as over 70% of U.S. production of tree nuts and 50% of rice and wheat. As go our trading partnerships, so goes the success of our farm economies.”

The organizations who reached out to the Trump administration includes:
  1. American Farm Bureau Federation
  2. American Pulse Association
  3. American Soybean Association
  4. National Association of Wheat Growers
  5. National Barley Growers Association
  6. National Corn Growers Association
  7. National Cotton Council
  8. National Farmers Union
  9. National Milk Producers Federation
  10. National Pork Producers Council
  11. National Sorghum Producers
  12. National Sunflower Association
  13. USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council
  14. USA Rice
  15. U.S. Canola Association
  16. U.S. Dry Bean Council

To view the letter, click here.

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