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News Archive

Month: March 2019

Ag Groups Team Up to Launch #TradeSupportsMyFarm Social Media Contest for National Ag Day

To celebrate National Ag Day farm groups are challenging families to educate the public about what trade means to their farm or ranch

(Sheridan, WY) – Farmers for Free Trade, American Farm Bureau Federation, Corn Refiners Association, U.S. Apple Association, KCoe Isom, Illinois Farm Bureau, Texas Farm Bureau and the National Association of Wheat Growers today announced a social media contest that will celebrate National Ag Day, March 14th. The contest will reward those farmers and families who can best highlight the significance of how trade supports their farms, ranch or ag business.  

“There’s never been a time when it’s more important to show that trade is vital to American agriculture,” said Brian Kuehl, Co-Executive Director of Farmers for Free Trade, who helped organize the contest. “The pictures and stories we get will help us explain to the public how much farmers depend on from international trade. Most importantly, though, this is a fun way to get the whole family involved in celebrating National Ag Day.”

The official rules and stakes for the #TradeSupportsMyFarm National Ag Day contest follow:

Win up to $500 in the National Ag Day #TradeSupportsMyFarm Contest!

STUDENTS AND PARENTS, to find out more about National Ag Day check out ACA and the National Ag Day Programming.

U.S. agriculture is the strongest most productive in the world and produces far more agricultural products than the United States can consume. That is why it is vitally important to make sure American agriculture is able to sell its products all over the world.

We want your help highlighting the significance of trade to American agriculture and the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy. We are giving away up to $500 to the entry that best demonstrates the importance of trade to America’s farm and ranch families.  

You must be 18 to enter the contest, but we want to see the entire family involved! All underage students must work with parents/grandparents/aunts or uncles to enter.

How to Enter:

  1. POST to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook and tell us how trade supports your farm, ranch or ag business and include the hashtag #TradeSupportsMyFarm   You may post a photo or video to help tell your story.  Include a caption that explains why trade is important to your farm, ranch or ag. business.
  2. After you post, visit to officially enter your post into the contest by selecting your social media platform and providing your contact information.

The contest begins on March 12, 2019 and entries must be received by March 26, 2019.

Winners for first ($500), second ($300) and third ($200) places will be awarded.

Entries will be voted on by participating ag organizations and the winner will be announced on April 5.

For full contest rules click here.

Utah Farmers Need Congressional Leaders to Fight for USMCA

Ron Gibson is a 6th generation Utah dairy farmer, and president of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation.

March 10th, 2019

For farmers in Utah, one of the most important things Congress can do is bring stability and certainty to the North American market. In the midst of so many trade disputes, nothing is more important that passing the new NAFTA now known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, and regaining our key export markets to our country’s top trading partners.

This comes at a critical time as farmers across our state are making plans for spring planting as well as larger ones about the future of their farm or ranch. It also comes at a time of great uncertainty. For my family that has run a dairy farm in Ogden for six generations, these are the toughest times we have ever seen. On our farm, low prices for our milk have dropped our monthly revenues significantly. It has led us to look for ways to diversify income sources to stay afloat. We now operate a pumpkin patch and corn maze for kids in the fall, and we are growing things like onions and other produce for your dinner table.

Our state’s agriculture economy represents approximately 79,000 jobs and $3.5 billion in compensation, but I worry if market forces continue as they have, how many of my longtime fellow farmers on the verge of shutting down will have to make that last, hard decision. In the dairy industry alone, we are down to approximately 150 dairy farms in the state, but I’m not sure we’ll have that same number at the end of 2019. A farm or ranch shutting down is traumatic for that family business, but the ripple effects will also be felt in our communities. Situations like these are a reminder that an international trade crisis has very local ramifications.

The answer to this problem isn’t just drinking more milk, buying more vegetables or eating more hamburgers here in America — though that is always a good idea — the answer is expanded market opportunities through trade.

Trade is a major economic driver in Utah. Our state’s agriculture economy is responsible for $21 billion in total economic output — 15 percent of the state total. Utah’s dairy industry alone turns out roughly 2 billion pounds a year of milk (about 245 million gallons), but we don’t consume that much milk in our state. We also export a lot of hay, beef, fruit and more. We rely on being able to export these agricultural products to Mexico and Canada — as do many other small businesses and manufacturers with what they produce in our state.

The time to act is now. Passing the USMCA would give farmers like me a sense of stability that would allow us to create smart business plans for the future. Trade is about trust, and we have built this trust through the strong relationships we have built over the years with specific people and companies in Mexico and Canada. I was able to witness firsthand how trade agreements impact companies and communities when I participated on a trade mission to Mexico last year with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. The USMCA would send a message to everyone that our trading relationships matter and are secure going forward. It also should bring an end to the uncertainty that has driven up our costs of production and the retaliatory tariffs that have punished American agriculture exports. Simply put, it’s high time to put aside costly disputes and get back to business with our allies in Canada and Mexico. I urge our Congressional delegation to pass the USMCA and bring an end to the threat of tariffs. Please contact your congressman today and ask them to support Utah’s farmers and ranchers by passing the North American trade agreement.

Texas Rice Farmer: Texas Congressional Delegation Must Lead the Fight to Pass USMCA

TimothGertson is a fifth-generation rice farmer from Lissie, Texas

Farmers and small business owners across Texas know that trade is a vital economic factor in our economy. Texas leads the nation in trade with Canada and Mexico, which accounts for 44 percent of our agricultural exports. There is no doubt that one of the most important issues pending in Congress is support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA). This is the new version of what’s been called NAFTA for more than 25 years, and it’s essential to the future of Texas agriculture.

There is no agriculture product coming out of the U.S. that depends more on the Mexico export market than rice. The U.S. exports $1.8 billion worth of rice each year to thriving international markets.

For my family, this market means our livelihood is at stake. For 10 years, I have grown rice on 1,000 acres in Lissie — about an hour west of Houston. Right now, I am getting $9.40 per hundred-weight of rice, compared to the $18 per hundred-weight we were receiving seven years ago. My land is southwest of Houston, and in this region, at least 50 percent of the rice we produce is exported to Mexico. Though the market price is down, the demand remains strong.

The depressed prices mean smaller farmers have been unable to pay off their bank loans after harvest in recent years. They are rolling debt over from one year to the next, and with prices low, it’s unlikely they will be able to stay in business much longer. The Mexican rice market has been a lifeline to Texas industry during this period of historically low pricing.

As the rice market struggles, it’s critical that Congress comes together in a bipartisan way and passes the USMCA to keep us viable. Farmers create jobs and drive economic growth, but the agricultural industry has suffered the most because of the uncertainty that is driving prices down and driving input costs up in all sectors.

My community in Lissie, and communities across Texas need a major trade victory right now to reduce the anxiety among farmers who are finding it difficult under these conditions to strategically plan for the future. North American trade is about long-term, sustainable relations that are built on trust. The USMCA would help us rebuild these relationships before they are beyond repair.

Despite the $9.40 market price, there is a worse scenario for us to worry about. If the USMCA doesn’t pass, the U.S. could end up pulling out of NAFTA completely. This would be a huge loss for farmers everywhere.

Rice farming is not the only Texas industry that would be severely damaged by a devastating decision to leave NAFTA. We could lose $13 billion in exports that go from Texas to Mexico, and $3.3 billion in exports from here to Canada. That would be a 14 percent cut to our overall export market. Many other sectors, including manufacturing and small business, could see a loss of 154,000 jobs. Our Texas congressional delegation is large and influential. It has a proud history of working together to do what’s right for farmers and communities. We now call on those leaders to continue leading the fight for the USMCA.

New Data Reveals Continuation Of Higher Tariff-Related Costs In Florida Compared To Last Year

Impacts Discussed at Town Hall with Florida Manufacturers, Brewers, Business Owners

JACKSONVILLE, FL – Florida manufacturers, brewers and business owners joined Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a nationwide nonpartisan campaign against tariffs, at a town hall to unveil new economic data detailing the impact of tariffs on Florida’s economy. The data, compiled by the Trade Partnership, shows that tariffs cost Florida businesses almost $92 million in November 2018 alone, more than eight times the tariffs paid on those same products last year

The town hall meeting, which took place at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Jacksonville, featured panelists representing numerous critical sectors of Florida’s economy, including small businesses, manufacturing, brewing and restaurants. 

“In the world of hospitality, just about everything in a restaurant or hotel is subject to tariffs. We are one of the most competitive marketplaces in the world, so increased costs have to be passed on to producers and consumers. The uncertainty in world markets and economies does nothing to benefit the individual customer who we try to serve each and every day,” said Richard E. Turner, senior vice president of legal and legislative affairs of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.

Since new tariffs were imposed, Florida businesses have paid an extra $303 million in import tariffs. Retaliatory tariffs from our trading partners have increased, making Florida less competitive.

Craig Tomeo, senior general manager of Anheuser-Busch’s Jacksonville brewery, expressed concern with how tariffs impact “our ability to operate and grow jobs here in the United States.” In Florida alone, trade supports more than 2.2 million jobs.

“Anheuser-Busch has called Florida home since 1969, and we’re proud to brew the great-tasting, high-quality beers that have satisfied beer drinkers for generations,” said Tomeo. “However, a tariff on aluminum is a tax that threatens jobs in the beer industry and raises the cost of brewing in the U.S. As a leading U.S. manufacturer and employer, we are hopeful that regulators and lawmakers will continue to examine the effects of the aluminum tariff and look for ways to reduce the impact on domestic brewers.”

The data released today is part of the Tariff Tracker that Tariffs Hurt the Heartland has launched in conjunction with The Trade Partnership, who compiles monthly data released by the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As part of the Tariff Tracker project, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland releases data on how individual states have been impacted by increased import tariffs and declining exports. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland is the nationwide, nonpartisan campaign opposing tariffs that is supported by over 150 trade associations from every industry. Tariffs Hurt the Heartland has been holding town hall meetings on the tariff impact of tariffs in communities across the country. The campaign is also airing ads across 11 states in the Midwest that describe the impact of tariff increases on consumers and has launched an interactive map tracking the tariff impact on American employers.


Matt McAlvanah  
([email protected])  
Melanie Lehnhardt ([email protected]

USMCA: NY Dairy Farmers’ Livelihoods Could Depend on Congress Passing USMCA

Mike McMahon is a dairy farmer in Homer. His parents started farming there in 1957.


For farmers across upstate New York there is nothing more important Congress can do than stabilize our relationship with our Northern neighbor by quickly passing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement or USMCA.

This agreement modernizes the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and it’s essential to protecting the ability of New York farmers to export goods to Mexico and Canada. Canada is the second largest market for US products being exported, and Mexico is the third largest.

I am watching this issue unfold from my dairy farm in the Cortland County community of Homer, where I manage 800 milk cows on 2,300 beautiful acres. Right now, we are dealing with milk prices that are in the fifth year of being below the cost of production. What that means is we are selling milk for $16 dollars per 100 pounds of milk, but our cash cost is running about $16.50 per 100 pounds of milk. That cash cost doesn’t include our expenditures for things such as new equipment.

New York dairy farmers need to export about 17 percent of the milk we produce to balance the domestic and international markets. Most of our milk goes to Mexico, but that export is down about 15 percent this year. Making all this worse is the fact that milk prices in the U.S. are tied to how much cheese the government has in storage. Right now, the country has 1.4 billion pounds of cheese on hand while 40 million Americans are in a food deficit situation. That number is depressing milk prices.

These numbers are troubling, they are also hard reminders that American dairy farmers simply must have access to trade partners in Mexico and Canada. It’s also critical that our dairy processors are also able to access these markets. An entire supply chain counts on it.

As milk prices fall, Congress will soon be debating the passage of USMCA. The discussion could not be coming at a more critical time as the on-going trade war with our trusted partners in Mexico and Canada has resulted in pain on both sides of the borders. Uncertainty coupled with tariffs have seriously hurt New York farmers who work every day to create jobs and economic growth. The tariffs or better yet taxes, also impact the price of our equipment and other critical inputs which means other members of our community are impacted.

Farmers need a win and we need it soon. We need Congress to approve USMCA so we can provide some market stability and make strategic decisions about the future. We need Congress to put aside differences and act in a bipartisan fashion to protect the long-term trade relationships that have been built in North America over decades.

Time is of the essence because as bad as all this seems there are worse options on the horizon. The worst case scenario happens if the US fails to pass the USMCA and leaves NAFTA all together. The impact of that would be catastrophic with New York seeing a 15 percent overall drop in exports and a loss of 117,000 jobs. This would devastate the market for the $2.4 billion dollars in products that New York is exporting to Canada each year, and the $859 million in New York products going to Mexico.

In Homer and dozens of other small farming communities across New York, we believe our elected officials in Washington, D.C. need to fight to approve this agreement and do away with the punitive tariffs. Our state’s economy is inextricably linked to strong trading relationships with Canada and Mexico and our farmers’ livelihoods depend on it. Please take a moment and call your member of Congress to remind them that hard working New York farm families are counting on them. Hundreds of small dairy farmers in New York are on the verge of shutting down. It’s time we all stand up and make our voices heard.

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