A national farm organization joins the fight to support trade from the local level.
The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) partners with Farmers for Free Trade. Farmers for Free Trade, a bipartisan campaign chaired by former Senators Max Baucus and Richard Lugar, focuses on rebuilding local support for trade. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says rural communities depend on a strong Ag economy.
“Twenty-percent of farm income comes from foreign trade,” Duvall said. “One out of three acres planted is exported across our shores. We look at the population today – 95% of the population is outside our borders. We have to be a player in those trade arenas so we can move our product out of our country and help feed the world.”
Duvall adds Americans cannot sit on the sidelines while other countries work out trade agreements. Senator Baucus previously served as trade ambassador to China. Baucus understands the potential for overseas trade opportunities. He says Americans are missing key opportunities.
“China is going like gangbusters, they’re doing trade deals with other countries for their benefit. Australia is doing trade deals, as is Japan. We Americans are not taking advantage of that opportunity. In fact, we’re going in the wrong direction. When we start to shoot these down – the Trans-Pacific Partnership – and say we’re going to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement or U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, we’re hurting ourselves,” Baucus said.
Baucus adds – as the standard of living increasing in other countries, opportunities for trade will also increase. He hopes the U.S. will be ready to take advantage of these opportunities.