The Texas Farm Bureau, the voice of more than 500,000 farmers and ranchers in Texas, announced Wednesday that is joining Farmers for Free Trade, a bipartisan campaign co-chaired by former Senators Max Baucus and Richard Lugar. It amplifies the voices of American farmers, ranchers and ag businesses that support free trade.
They join the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Pork Producers Council, American Soybean Association and multiple other agricultural, trade and commodity groups partnering with Farmers for Free Trade to strengthen support for trade in rural communities.
"International trade is a major driver of our Texas economy," Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening said. "There is no doubt the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has increased demand for U.S. agricultural goods, lowered input and production costs and spurred our economy. We welcome any modernizations to NAFTA, as well as developing new trade agreements, that will further expand market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Working together with Farmers for Free Trade will allow us to have a united voice on trade."
The group complains that net farm income is now 52% lower than it was five years ago. They say that “putting food on the table in America depends on good trade policies.” U.S. farmers have exported about half of all the major commodities they grow, and that has been based upon NAFTA and the trade agreements in place. The current protectionist sentiment in Washington is bringing threats of tariffs that invite retaliations, and Asian and other world competitors are plotting to assume the mantle of global supplier that the U.S. has long held.