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Lawmakers create Ag Trade Caucus

Lawmakers create Ag Trade Caucus

The bipartisan group will work to advance ag trade policies and boost ag trade exports

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Congressmen from both sides of the aisle have created a group designed to support U.S. farmers and ag trade.

Republican Reps. Dusty Johnson (S.D.) and Adrian Smith (Neb.), along with California Democrats Jim Costa and Jimmy Panetta announced the creation of the Congressional Agricultural Trade Caucus on Jan. 31.

The U.S. exported $196 billion of ag goods in 2022, the USDA says.

But for those figures to improve, action is required to provide farmers with more market access.

“American agriculture producers have the capacity to feed and fuel the world, and robust engagement on trade opportunities is vital to unleashing this potential,” Rep. Smith said in a statement. “Increasing—and maintaining—market access for our first-class products through rules-based trade strengthens our economy, increases economic security with our allies, and benefits consumers worldwide.

“I thank my fellow co-chairs for joining me in this effort to advance bipartisan trade policy.”

Lawmakers started planning this group’s formation in the fall of 2023 “as lower demand for U.S. agriculture exports strokes alarm on Capitol Hill,” Politico reported.

USDA data shows the U.S. has a $2.6 billion ag trade deficit in September 2023, followed by a $261 million deficit in October. In November, ag trade experienced a $98 million trade surplus.

The ag industry is pleased with the formation of the Congressional Agricultural Trade Caucus.

Better trade means boosts for U.S. farmers and agriculture, said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“AFBF appreciates House lawmakers for coming together in a bipartisan manner to form an agriculture trade caucus,” he said in a statement. “We have a real opportunity to showcase American agriculture on the global stage. Expanded trade agreements will help ensure America’s farmers and ranchers remain economically sustainable by providing access to new markets as they feed families around the world.”

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