On Tuesday, the House Agriculture Subcommittee held a hearing in which the state of the livestock and poultry economy was assessed. Speakers at the hearing cut to the chase fairly quickly by addressing trade within the first five minutes. House Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa made initial remarks concerning trade, drawing the first spout of attention to the heavily anticipated passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The House Agriculture Subcommittee’s hearing saw many commodity groups. Poultry, beef, and pork representatives attended the seminar to touch on the need for the USCMA’s passing as it relates to their individual industries.
John Zimmerman with the Turkey Federation spoke regarding the trade agreement.
“Our number one priority is passage of USMCA. Our industry has always had a fantastic relationship with Mexico…and ratifying this agreement will only improve that bond.”
Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc.’s, Holly Porter, reaffirmed Zimmerman’s points on poultry in Mexico and Canada.
“The passage of USMCA is absolutely critical to the chicken industry…and we call on Congress to vote on this agreement, as soon as possible.”
National Pork Producers Council President David Herring stressed USMCA numbers in the pork industry.
“USMCA preserves zero-percent pork tariffs in North America, Canada and Mexico…and both of those markets account for nearly 40-percent of all U.S. pork exports, and support 16,000 U.S. jobs.”
As for beef, Kelley Sullivan Georgiades for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association discussed the USMCA’s role in beef production.
“The most important thing this Congress can do for American ranchers, is to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. Mexico and Canada, combined, buy 2-billion-dollars worth of U.S. beef products every single year.”
While commodity groups took special interest in trade agreements, they also made sure to note the shortage of farm workers in the U.S., by which Congress could relieve through enacting visa reform. The requested improvements would open the door to year-round guest workers opposed to the current visa’s seasonal limitations. This gesture comes after the Trump Administration’s H-2A agricultural guest worker program, following Congress’s lack of action.