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USMCA: It's time to get it done for farmers
On their farms, when something needs to get done, our dairy farmers don't hem and haw, they don't drag their feet and they don't play politics. They get it done.
Congress needs to follow our farmers' example and get the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement done.
USMCA, improves upon NAFTA, which created a significant and reliable market over the past 25 years for the second-to-none dairy foods produced by our farmers and processors.
Consider the importance of that relationship:
- Mexico and Canada account for 40 percent of all U.S. dairy exports.
- Our No. 1 export market, Mexico, imports $1.4 billion in U.S. dairy products which ultimately supports 25,000 American jobs.
- As the third-largest U.S. dairy importer, Canada takes in $639 million worth of products each year.
Trade is top of mind for farmers throughout the Midwest. Dairy farmers need long-term economic certainty for their businesses, families and employees, and they want it for their rural communities. Trade holds the key. With more opportunities for free and fair trading, we will capture markets that are expanding as the population does.
This deal is good for our dairy farmers - no matter farm size or business model. It is good for all of agriculture. It is good for both agribusinesses and non-agricultural businesses. It is good for the economy. USMCA is good for America.
The agreement will not only prevent dairy farmers and processors from losing ground with our neighbors, but will provide an opportunity to increase our products' market share. Congress cannot allow the relationships and business infrastructure built over the years with these key partners to crumble.
Our dairy farmers, trying to navigate the turbulent agricultural economy of the past several years, have grown tired of hearing that help is on the way. They want to see it.
And as farmers continue to battle extreme weather conditions throughout the Midwest, this is one thing lawmakers can do to ease their minds.
Congress must move swiftly on this agreement. Put the bitter partisanship aside at least long enough to pass this critical legislation.
The administration has done its job to bring USMCA to this point. It's now up to Congress to get it done - quickly.
Tim Trotter is the executive director of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the country based on milk volume. The co-op fights for federal policies that benefit farmers, customers and communities.