More than 50 farmers, ranchers and representatives of state agriculture associations were in Washington last week to deepen their knowledge about trade issues and drum up support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Capitol Hill as part of the National Corn Growers Association Trade School.
“Trade policy has a significant impact on me as a farmer. The success of my business and the livelihood of my community depend on expanding markets for U.S. agricultural products,” said John Linder, a farmer from Edison, Ohio who serves as chairman of the NCGA Biotechnology and Trade Action Team.
“With so many trade issues front and center right now, we wanted farmers to walk away with the knowledge and resources to become trade advocates, here in Washington and back home in their communities.”
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Over the course of two days, trade school attendees learned from public and private sector experts about the importance of trade to the agriculture sector; the role of the World Trade Organization; global population and dietary trends and their implications for agriculture; the growing ethanol export market; and the current state of play for TPP and other international trade agreements.
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Following trade school, many farmers and ranchers visited their congressional offices, urging Congress to take up TPP and pass the agreement this year.
“The biggest thing I learned in trade school is, the world is not waiting for us. Our competitors have negotiated regional and bilateral trade agreements that put American farmers and ranchers at a disadvantage in the global marketplace,” said Linder.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership is our opportunity to level the playing field, and protect and expand our market share," Linder said. "The clock is ticking for American agriculture. It’s time for Congress to act.”