Tag Archives: USMCA

Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), testified before the Senate Finance Committee and urged Congress to swiftly ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

In addition to locking in a zero-tariff relationship with Mexico and increasing market access to Canada, USMCA also reforms Canadian pricing practices and addresses other nontariff barriers, like geographic indication requirements, that threaten U.S. sales. All told, USMCA will provide a $314 million-a-year boost to the dairy industry, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission.

“Speaker Pelosi and Ambassador Lighthizer are working closely together to address any outstanding concerns surrounding the implementation of USMCA,” he added. “I encourage the Senate to play a constructive role in these talks in order to produce a final agreement that can be quickly passed and signed.”

A group of 14 Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi urging her to bring a vote by the end of the year on USMCA. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has reportedly told colleagues that Speaker Pelosi has committed to a vote on the revised NAFTA trade deal by October, according to Axios and as reported by Jim Wiesemeyer, Pro Farmer’s Washington analyst. Speaker Pelosi denies that commitment. The Trump administration, Axios reported, asked Pelosi to allow a vote on the USMCA as a side agreement to the budget deal, but she refused to put anything in writing.

In June, USDEC and 34 of its members signed a letter alongside nearly 1,000 farm organizations and rural businesses asking Congress to approve USMCA. One of those organizations, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), echoed support for Vilsack’s comments and urgency to bring USMCA to a vote.

“As Secretary Vilsack testified, USMCA delivers key wins for America’s dairy farmers and the exports that drive stronger sales. With USMCA, dairy farmers will see more export opportunities and greater trade certainty. Without USMCA, we lose out on $314 million in additional dairy exports. We also lose the benefit of the new rules this deal puts in place, such as key reforms to Canada’s dairy system and stronger safeguards for our cheese exports to Mexico,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO in a statement.

“We commend the Senate for spotlighting USMCA’s importance and strongly support the testimony offered by USDEC on how the agreement benefits dairy. To usher in USMCA’s improvements for dairy farmers and build momentum for additional trade agreements with key markets like Japan, we urge swift action to resolve any outstanding issues and secure approval of USMCA.”

LINCOLN, NEB. –During a national affairs trip to Washington, D.C., members of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s (NEFB) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee asked for more economic stability and pushed for the passage of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) this fall.

“It’s important for our young agricultural leaders to travel to Washington, D.C. to let Nebraska’s Congressional delegation know how important issues like USMCA, trade with China, and broadband expansion is so important to young farmers and ranchers,” Mark McHargue, NEFB first vice president said, July 18. McHargue farms and raises livestock near Central City.

The passage of the new USMCA remains a top priority for Nebraska Farm Bureau. Lance Atwater, who farms near Ayr and serves as youth at-large on the NEFB board of directors, asked Nebraska’s congressional delegation to take up and pass the new agreement quickly to provide a level of certainty for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families.

“In 2017, Nebraska sold $979 million of major agriculture commodities to Canada and $889 million to Mexico. We must ensure free and open access with two of our largest trading partners and closest allies. We need to create stability for younger producers,” Atwater said.

Improving trade rations with China was also a heavily discussed topic during the national affairs visit. Chairs of the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, Jason and Karah Perdue, raise grain and livestock near York and also serve as South Central representatives on the YF&R Committee. Lack of access to the Chinese market has already imposed clear economic strain to Nebraska’s agricultural and overall economy.

“In 2017, Nebraska sold $937 million of Nebraska commodities to China. We need good outcomes to current negotiations with China, Japan, and the European Union,” Jason Perdue said.

Nebraska Farm Bureau leaders also talked about rural broadband and how important it is to farmers and ranchers and their bottom lines. Luke and Erin Norman are ranchers near Crawford, Nebraska in Dawes County. Internet connection in rural areas is sketchy at best.

“Farmers and ranchers depend on broadband just as they do highways, railways, and waterways, to ship food, fuel, and fiber across the country and around the world. Current and future generations of rural Nebraskans are being left behind because they are without affordable high-speed internet service. We asked our congressional delegation to support a bill called the Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2019,” Luke Norman said.

“While the list of challenges young farmers and ranchers face is long, the need for young people in agriculture to answer the call of growing food for our nation and world remains as strong as ever. Continuing to communicate our message to key decision makers is vital to the future success of our farm and ranch families,” McHargue said.

Those attending the National Affairs visit were:

Mark and Judi McHargue, Mark serves as first vice president of Nebraska Farm Bureau – Merrick County

Lance and Krystal Atwater, Lance serves as Youth At-Large, NEFB Board of Directors – Adams County

Jason and Karah Perdue, Chairs on the YF&R Committee – York County

Luke and Erin Norman, Northwest Region representatives on the YF&R Committee – Dawes County

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) today sent a letter signed by 39 of its state affiliates to U.S. Senate and House leaders urging them to support the swift ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

The letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is NCBA’s latest salvo in the battle to build support for USMCA ratification, coming less than two weeks after the group launched a new media campaign to push the accord.

“American cattle producers need to maintain our unrestricted, duty-free access to markets in Canada and Mexico, and that’s exactly what USMCA would guarantee us,” said NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “Jeopardizing that access by having Congress not take action on USMCA is simply not an option for us.”

In addition to calling on Congress to quickly ratify USMCA, the letter also encouraged the Capitol Hill leaders to oppose efforts to re-instate failed policies of the past, such as mandatory country-of-origin labeling, or MCOOL.

“MCOOL was U.S. law for six years until it was repealed by Congress in 2015 to avoid $1 billion of retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico that were sanctioned by the World Trade Organization (WTO),” the letter says. “The truth is MCOOL cost the U.S. beef industry hundreds of millions of dollars to implement, and the vast majority of consumers never paid attention to it. Our industry has suffered enough with this bad idea and we do not need to relive the sins of the past.”

Click here to read the full letter, and click here to view NCBA’s “Faces of USMCA” media campaign, which launched in June.