WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Wayne Hurst, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers and a wheat farmer from near Burley, Idaho, U.S., and Don Schieber, chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates and a wheat farmer from near Ponca City, Oklahoma, U.S., released the following statement on June 29 about pending free trade agreements (FTA).

“U.S. wheat farmers were pleased to hear news of a possible agreement that would move forward the passage of three pending free trade agreements, and of U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus’ intention to hold mock mark-ups of the measures on June 30. All three of these pacts are important to wheat farmers, who depend on exports to sell about half of the wheat we grow every year.

“The agreement with Colombia is particularly vital today because a free trade agreement between Colombia and Canada is set to go into effect in mid-August. That agreement would allow Canadian wheat to enter duty free — a benefit Argentina already receives — while leaving duties on U.S. wheat in place. Passing the U.S.-Colombia FTA will help prevent lost sales estimated at $100 million each year in that important and growing market.

“We strongly believe these agreements have languished long enough and call once again for their quick consideration and approval.”