Trade has always been a vital part of farm income, and the importance of creating a level playing field for America’s farm and ranch families has only grown as the world population expands and demand for high-quality, home-grown American agriculture products rises.
And on the front burner of the US trade agenda is the ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement that farmers across the heartland are calling on Congress to pass.
Signed in late 2018, the USMCA must be approved by the legislative branches of all three nations before it goes into effect. Last month, Mexico became the first country to do so with an overwhelming 114 to 4 Senate vote in favor of passage.
Meanwhile, in Canada, legislation to approve USMCA has been introduced in parliament, with that nation expected to pass the legislation in tandem with the US Congress.
However, in the United States, approval has been delayed as Administration officials and Democratic leaders continue to wrangle. With just 10 legislative working days left before Congress leaves town for the August recess, the country is close to letting another window of opportunity slip away.
Worse, if Congress does not approve USMCA before the end of this year, the trade agreement could get caught up in the crossfire of the 2020 presidential campaign and never see passage.
This would be a devastating loss for rural America which is already reeling under the sixth straight year of an agricultural recession.
USMCA was negotiated to maintain this record of success for US agriculture while building upon it, offering new market opportunities to help improve farm gate prices and lift agriculture out of recession.