The National Pork Producers Council leads a coalition of agricultural organizations in support of the trade agreement. NPPC president Doug Wolf, a pork producer from Lancaster, Wisconsin, says they are very excited about this agreement because it will provide significant new export opportunities for U.S. pork producers. Wolf is quick to point out that pork producers also support the Korea and Panama FTAs and urge the administration to send them to Congress to be approved by this summer.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says the fact the Obama administration has been able to strike a deal that moves the Colombia free trade agreement forward is great news for America's farmers and ranchers. A group of Farm Bureau leaders has been in Colombia and Panama, encouraging movement in the deal. Stallman says this is a development welcomed by all sides.
The National Corn Growers Association says the Colombia FTA would provide immediate access for U.S. corn growers to Colombia's roughly 2.1 million metric ton market for corn at zero percent duty. NCGA President Bart Schott says this is an important market for U.S. farmers and they do not want to watch this market slip away to our largest competitors.
American Soybean Association President Alan Kemper says that as a result of delays in approving the pending FTA, the U.S. has lost market share to competitors in Colombia. In 2010, U.S. soybean product exports to Colombia were valued at $103 million, down 64% from 2008.
The National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates also praised the move. According to NAWG President Wayne Hurst and USW Chairman Don Schieber, this is a critical step toward being able to compete on a level playing field in one of the largest wheat markets in South America. Without this FTA, U.S. wheat farmers face a potential loss of sales currently valued at about $100 million per year.