Texas Farm Bureau, the voice of more than 500,000 farmers and ranchers in Texas, has announced it will join Farmers for Free Trade.
Farmers for Free Trade is a bipartisan campaign co-chaired by former Senators Max Baucus and Richard Lugar. It amplifies the voices of American farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses that support free trade.
Texas Farm Bureau joins 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.”
Trade disruption, Boening noted, is risky for farmers and ranchers. Last year, U.S. agriculture exported more than $140 billion in products worldwide, highlighting the need for strong trade agreements.
“Texas Farm Bureau has been a leader in advocating on behalf of Texas agriculture at both the state and federal level,” Baucus said. “Trade with other nations is critical to stabilizing farming communities across the country, and nobody knows that better than Texas farmers and ranchers. Adding their voices to our mission builds momentum in our efforts to strengthen trade in rural America.”
Farmers and ranchers depend on vigorous and fair international trade, especially during weak economic times. Net farm income is 52 percent lower than it was five years ago, Boening noted.
“We are excited to see Texas Farm Bureau join us in amplifying our efforts,” Lugar said. “Farmers and ranchers in Texas know that trade helps them put food on the table. Their support will allow us to mobilize even more farmers at the grassroots level to remind the rest of the country that their livelihoods depend on good trade policies.”
Farmers for Free Trade is currently working at the grassroots level to organize and educate farmers about the importance of trade. The campaign works to engage farmers through work at state commodity conventions, state proclamations, social media outreach and by identifying local spokespeople, among other efforts.
Baucus and Lugar outline some of the key policy priorities that will help rebuild bipartisan support for trade, which can be found here.
This announcement follows additional announcements in recent weeks that Illinois Farm Bureau and American Soybean Association have also joined Farmers for Free Trade.