Illinois Farm Bureau Joins Farmers for Free Trade

Former U.S. Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., co-chair the nonprofit organization, which has been active for more than a year and a half.

By Deana Stroisch

Illinois Farm Bureau has joined forces with Farmers for Free Trade (FFT), a bipartisan organization dedicated to expanding export opportunities for American farmers.

IFB’s Board of Directors recently voted to join the organization, which also has the support of national agriculture groups such as American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association and National Pork Producers Council.

“Farmers across the country rely on trade to sell the crops we grow,” said Richard Guebert Jr., Illinois Farm Bureau president. “It makes sense that we all work together to get the message out on how vital it is to resolve trade issues before tariffs further impact our markets.”

Former U.S. Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., co-chair the nonprofit organization, which has been active for more than a year and a half.

Angela Hoffman, FFT deputy director, said the organization focuses primarily on three areas of trade:

** Supporting the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which she noted has “been a net positive for farmers and ranchers overall.”

** Monitoring the impacts of the administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum. Retaliatory tariffs from trading partners, including the European Union, Canada and Mexico, primarily hurt agriculture, she said.

** Bringing the U.S.-China talks to a “successful resolution.”

“That’s a big market for U.S. agriculture – over $20 billion is exported every year,” she said. “We’d like to see issues resolved and the opportunity to work together.”

“Trade matters,” Hoffman said. “Engaging key partners such as Canada, Mexico, the Europeans, as well as opening up the Asian countries to our exports, is something we’re very supportive of. We want to make sure that in these very complicated trade talks right now, that agriculture is not the one bearing the brunt of the trade war.

“We are delighted to have the Illinois Farm Bureau participating as well because that’s what we do – we represent the voices of farmers and ranchers. We help educate. But most importantly we help amplify and tell their story at the local level, the state level and the national and international. We are very much looking forward to this partnership.”

For more information, visit: farmersforfreetrade.com.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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