Minnesota may be the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but with more than 70,000 farming operations it is also home to a lot of agriculture. It produces corn, wheat, sugar beets, milk, beef cattle and everything in between, and tens of thousands of hardworking Americans rely on Minnesota’s $17 billion agriculture industry to bring home the bacon (literally).
President Trump has made it his mission to support American agriculture and negotiate better trade deals, so our productive farmers can sell their bounty around the globe.
We are talking long-term gains that will benefit generations of Americans – expanding job opportunities, developing more infrastructure and securing our food production capacity.
The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is one of the initial pieces of that plan, and it’s a boon for the North Star State’s farmers. Title by title, verse by verse, USMCA improves virtually every component of the old NAFTA, and Minnesota’s agriculture industry stands to gain significantly.
Since the inception of NAFTA 25 years ago, agricultural trade between the U.S., Canada and Mexico has boomed – our exports to Canada and Mexico increased approximately 300 percent, and our imports increased almost 500 percent, benefitting producers and consumers on both sides of our borders.
Minnesota alone exports nearly $7 billion to our neighbors to the north and south, and with USMCA the potential to export more of what Minnesota makes is limitless. USMCA will benefit Minnesota’s entire agricultural industry even more so than NAFTA.
By guaranteeing better market access and advancing science-based rules with our top trading partners, USMCA is a big win.
Minnesota’s proximity to Canada lends a natural logistical advantage and a great export destination for producers and consumers on both sides of the border. Pork, beef and poultry trade are fluid across the border, making Canada a key trading partner, along with Mexico.
Mexico relies heavily on Minnesota for cheese, pork and poultry. Without strengthening this partnership through USMCA, Minnesota could risk its highly competitive trade advantages.
Minnesota produces so much high-quality wheat and dairy, that it is known fondly as the “bread and butter state.” USMCA will provide Minnesota producers significantly better market access for dairy, poultry and eggs, sending more products out the door and bringing home more dollars for our hard working farmers.
USMCA terminates Canada’s discriminatory wheat grading system.
Additionally, USMCA unlocks Canada’s highly protected milk market, so Minnesota’s dairy producers can finally have access to the market. USMCA also eliminates Canada’s unfair Class 7 milk pricing scheme, so finally Canadians will be able to purchase our high-quality dairy products. Because of USMCA, Minnesota will be able to export more of its delicious bread and butter to our North American neighbors.
For the first time, trading rules specifically address agricultural biotechnology to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies, providing a level playing field for our farmers. While improving the flow of trade, the new agreement strengthens fact-based sanitary and phytosanitary measures to protect human, animal and plant health.
USMCA also institutes a more rigorous process for establishing common food names, to not restrict the marketing of certain cheeses under common names, such as parmesan, munster or feta.
American farmers and ranchers are the most productive in the world, and consumers in other countries are always wanting American products.
President Trump continues to be an unapologetic advocate for America’s bounty around the world, and thanks to his leadership, USMCA is a big win for Minnesota’s farmers and our agriculture industry overall. Canada and Mexico love the products that Minnesota’s farmers and ranchers produce.
Now it’s up to Congress to take the next step and ratify USMCA.
– Sonny Perdue serves as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture