NAWG, farm groups stress trade importance to new administration

In a letter to President-Elect Donald Trump and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence last week, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), and a coalition of 15 other producer organizations noted the contribution of agriculture and agriculture-related industries, predominant trade markets and expressed intent and willingness to identify new global opportunities together in order to impact the rural economy in the most positive way.

The signatory groups highlighted the economic value of the American agricultural contribution to the GDP, encouraging the Administration to especially consider the rural economy and it’s potential for growth through improved trade stating that, “Agriculture and agriculture-related industries contributed $835 billion to the U.S. GDP in 2014, a 4.8 percent share. Our industry employs millions of hard working Americans. In 2014, 17.3 million full and part-time jobs were related to agriculture, about 9.3 percent of total U.S. employment. Food manufacturing accounts for 14 percent of all employees, the largest single sector.” As 50 percent of wheat production is exported, NAWG President Gordon Stoner reinforced that, “nearly half of America’s bountiful wheat harvest is exported each year. Effective, fair trade agreements are critical to America’s wheat farmers”

The letter to the incoming administration continued by requesting the enforcement of current trade agreements and to expand the marketplace.

“We know that securing positive benefits for American farmers, ranchers and workers in trade will be a priority in your administration. This includes enforcing existing agreements so that other countries abide by their commitments, as well as expanding market access for U.S. producers through new agreements. As the Trump Administration assembles its team and policies, U.S. agricultural trade interests must be maintained, not only in existing markets but by expanding access to new markets,” wrote the groups. “Existing markets include China, Canada, and Mexico—U.S. farmers’ first, second and third largest foreign customers. U.S. agricultural exports in FY2016 were nearly $27 billion to China, more than $24 billion to Canada and nearly $19 billion to Mexico. Disrupting U.S. agricultural exports to these nations would have devastating consequences for our farmers and the many American processing and transportation industries and workers supported by these exports.”

President Stoner stated that, “NAWG not only looks forward to working with President-Elect Trump and his team in developing effective trade policy for U.S. agriculture but also enforcing existing trade agreements. America’s farmers are the most productive in the world and compete well in the global market place given a level playing field.”

The National Association of Wheat Growers supports the sustainability of trade and is committed to working with the Administration to ensure that our trade agreements are favorable to American agriculture and to U.S. wheat producers.