One of the first times I remember getting serious insight into what is now the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement was when I visited with Randy Kron in his combine cab in a soybean field in Posey County, Ind. The chatter was that the different parties involved in the trade deal would soon reach an agreement. Kron, president of Indiana Farm Bureau, was hopeful that a deal could be worked out and put in place soon.
Kron noted as we rode along that, with the tariff battle with China underway, agriculture needed a trade agreement to show that the U.S. could reach agreements that were meaningful for agriculture and industry. He thought it would be a good first step toward boosting ag trade.
That was the fall of 2018, some 16 months ago. While the agreement was reached during that time period, it took Congress more than a year to pass it. It was finally signed in January 2020. While late in coming, Kron and other Hoosiers believe USMCA will be good for agriculture.
Deidra Gottbrath, member of a Washington County, Ind., farm family, was invited to be present to watch when President Donald Trump signed the USMCA agreement at the White House.
“It was an honor to have been invited to the White House to witness the signing of the USMCA,” says Gottbrath, INFB’s incoming Young Farmers and Ag Professionals chair. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Healthy trade relationships with our neighboring countries are essential for the success of Indiana farm families like mine in Washington County. Of course, it will take time for new deals to go into effect which will result in increased sales for farmers, but we’re hopeful that in the end, this agreement will increase exports for farmers in Indiana and across the country.”
Indiana Farm Bureau
HISTORIC MOMENT: Deidra Gottbrath, Washington County, Ind., was present in Washington, D.C., when the USMCA was officially signed.
U.S. Rep. Greg Pence, of Indiana’s 6th district, also expressed his opinion once the agreement was signed. Here is a portion of the opinion piece he offered after the signing:
“The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates that within five years, the USMCA could add up to $235 billion in economic growth and 589,000 jobs to the U.S. economy. This is a huge win for American workers, farmers and manufacturers, and it’s about time Congress got to the people’s work.
“With the historic signing of USMCA, Americans can look forward to a stronger and more hopeful future for their trade and manufacturing businesses. Our goods, products and materials, proudly stamped as American Made, will flow throughout the continent in more open and fair markets.
“In 2018, Indiana exported more than $18 billion to Canada and Mexico. Our agricultural exports rank in the top 10 in the entire nation. USMCA will remove barriers to agriculture sales, level the playing field for our manufacturers, and make it easier for Hoosiers to sell their goods and products.
“The Hoosier state is also top four in the nation in turkey and poultry production. USMCA opens up new access to these markets, bringing even more economic prosperity to our state.”
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