This is the first article that I have read that  clearly discusses how the USMCA will help American  farmers. It also points out the differences between NAFTA and the USMCA.   Nancy

Got Trade? Dairy Farmers Stand to Gain From the USMCA

The newly signed deal is sweet relief to farmers in rural districts like mine in North Carolina.

By Ted Budd    Mr. Budd, a Republican, represents North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District.  December 14, 2019

The trade agreement negotiated in 2018 by the U.S., Mexico and Canada languished for more than a year as congressional Democrats pressed the Trump administration to extract concessions from Mexico on labor regulations and pharmaceutical patents. The amended USMCA, successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, was signed this week, putting an end to 14 months of political wrangling. But to those of us who live in farm country, the pact means a lot more than politics.

To Sam Dobson, whose farm in Statesville, N.C., has been in his family for 150 years, the USMCA represents hope. He is a seventh-generation dairy farmer, and the USMCA boosts the chances that his son Chase will be the eighth. “In agriculture, your goal is to leave a legacy and not a liability, and the No. 1 goal for us on our farm is to leave our farm and our legacy just a little bit better than we found it when we got it,” says Mr. Dobson.

Since Nafta came into force, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have quadrupled, from $9 billion in 1993 to $39 billion in 2017, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. But dairy farmers were left behind as other agricultural exports boomed. U.S. milk prices are in the fourth year of a slump due to chronic oversupply. Canada has historically restricted how much U.S. milk it imports, putting U.S. dairy farmers at a disadvantage.

Farmers in Iredell County, N.C., which I represent in Congress, produce more than 3 billion gallons of milk a year, according to the American Dairy Association of North Carolina. In the 1970s, there were more than 200 dairy farms in Iredell County. Now there are 22. This is a trend that goes far beyond North Carolina. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 2,731 dairy farms across the U.S. closed last year due to a combination of low profit margins and a gradual decline in milk consumption. “Without these agreements,” Mr. Dobson says, “you’re going to see a disappearance of the industry.”

I recently met with a handful of local dairy farmers in my district. Several of them have been involved in agriculture for generations. Like the Dobsons, they consider farming more than a livelihood. It’s about family, a passion for the land, and literally feeding millions of people. Even with a drastic decline in the number of dairy farms, Iredell has remained the top dairy-producing county in North Carolina. Farmers here will see significant benefits from passing the USMCA.

Under this new deal, U.S. dairy farmers will be able to sell three times as much to Canadian markets as they could before. Canada has agreed essentially to get rid of tariffs and an unfair pricing system for American dairy exports. Under Nafta, U.S. access to the Canadian poultry market was linked to domestic production levels in Canada. This, too, will change under the USMCA. Canada will open its markets to imports of U.S. chicken and eggs and expand access for U.S. turkey, too. In 2018, poultry production in North Carolina was a $37 billion business supporting more than 150,000 jobs.

I expect agriculture in my state to enjoy a boom in the coming year thanks to the USMCA. But North Carolina farmers won’t be the only ones to benefit. According to the Business Roundtable, trade with Canada and Mexico currently supports 12 million American jobs. Many sectors of the economy will find sweet relief in a modernized trade deal. The original Nafta negotiators couldn’t possibly have predicted the striking technological changes in the global economy over the past 25 years. This update is long overdue.

While the U.S. economy is diverse, farming is still critical to many states and communities. In North Carolina, agriculture remains the driving force behind economic growth, as 80 of its 100 counties are considered rural. The USMCA provides farmers in these rural communities with more market opportunities and desperately needed certainty. American farmers face many challenges, from natural disasters to declining commodity prices. The least we can do for them is provide a stable marketplace and a level playing field.

To most in Washington, the USMCA was a political prop in the larger drama of President Trump’s personality and governing style. But to America’s farm country, the past 14 months of partisan warfare have been excruciating and unnecessary. I am grateful that the deadlock has been broken and that North Carolina dairy farmers like the Dobsons have been given a fighting chance to leave their children a legacy rather than a liability.

Mr. Budd, a Republican, represents North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District.




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