On Wednesday, farmers, ranchers, producers and growers representing various California food and agriculture products will fly in to Washington to advocate to their members of Congress for swift passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“California food and ag is coming to Washington to make a strong appeal to our elected representatives for swift passage of the USMCA,” said Jamie Johansson, president, California Farm Bureau Federation. “With our livelihoods at stake due to uncertainty in export markets and an unclear path for USMCA in Congress, it is essential that we appeal directly to each member of the California delegation. We will ask them to share our message with Speaker Pelosi: ‘Please pass USMCA now—our livelihoods depend on it.’”
California is the nation’s largest producer and exporter of food and agricultural products. In 2018, California ag exports to Canada and Mexico totaled $6.6 billion. Food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico supported more than 56,000 jobs in California last year. More than 77,500 farms produce more than 400 commodities, and about one-quarter of what California produces is exported around the world. Agricultural exports from California are valued at nearly $21 billion.
USCMA will further increase benefits to American farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses by improving market access and customs procedures, establishing modern, science-based sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and enhancing standards for biotechnology and strengthening safeguards for commonly used food names.
The International Trade Commission determined that the USMCA would have a positive impact on the U.S. economy and a positive impact on the U.S. agriculture sector. In fact, the USMCA would raise the U.S. GDP by $68.2 billion, pumping an additional $2.2 billion, or 1.1%, into the U.S. economy through increases in agricultural and food exports.
Since NAFTA was implemented, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $39 billion in 2017.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the American Farm Bureau Federation, International Dairy Foods Association, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and California Dairies Inc. coordinated this day of advocacy on Capitol Hill.