American Farm Bureau Partners with Farmers For Free Trade

Farmers for Free Trade is a new bipartisan campaign chaired by former Senators Max Baucus and Richard Lugar. The campaign focus is to rebuild local, grassroots support for trade in states all across the country. The American Farm Bureau Federation announced this week that it will form a partnership with Farmers for Free Trade in its mission. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall …

“We’re looking forward to the negotiations of the trade treaties, as well as the re-negotiations of the treaties that are going on now.”

Duvall says American can’t sit on the sidelines while other countries continue to work out trade agreements. Baucus saw firsthand during his time as a trade ambassador to China that American farmers have a lot of potential opportunities for overseas trade…

“China is going like gangbusters, they’re doing deals with lots of other countries…trade deals, for their benefit.  Australia is doing trade deals for their benefit, as is Japan, as are lots of other Asian countries, to say nothing of countries in other parts of the world.  And, we Americans are not taking advantage of that opportunity, in fact, we’re going the wrong direction.”

Sarah Lilygren, Farmers for Free Trade Board President, says her organization’s goal is to make sure the people who feed our country are at the table when we set trade policy…

“The support of the Farm Bureau is so critical, not just because it bring their vast resources and network of farmers, but also it validates how important our mission is.

“As someone who has spent a career talking with farmers and ranchers, I can tell you any erosion of our exports represents the last straw.”

Lilygren says Farmers for Free Trade want to make sure that the benefits of free trade with other countries are well understood far from the “halls of power in Washington”

The National Wheat Growers spoke out on trade last week, saying it might be time to look for new opportunities instead of just focusing on what’s already in place. Duvall said the Wheat Growers are spot on with that idea…

“We have to look forward, we have to tear down these barriers where ever they are in the world and give our farmers access to the world market, so that we can continue to create jobs, so we can continue to return income to our farmers in a very bad economic time.  This is something that we could do today, in the near future, to take some of the financial pressure off our farmers.”

Baucus adds that as living standards go up in other countries, opportunities for trade are only going into increase in number and the U.S. has to be ready to take advantage of them.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.

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