LINCOLN, NEB. – On the one-year anniversary of President Trump signing an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Nebraska Farm Bureau urged President Trump to find new markets for Nebraska agricultural commodities.
“While the outlook of international demand for U.S. agricultural products remains strong, it is clear the U.S. missed a massive opportunity to expand exports to a growing region of the world,” wrote Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson in a Jan. 23 letter to President Trump. “Today we ask you and your administration to renew and strengthen your efforts to find new markets for our state and nation’s agricultural products.”
The missed opportunities for expanded Nebraska agricultural trade through the TPP agreement were further highlighted by the recent announcement that the 10 remaining partner countries intend to finalize the TPP agreement by early March, without U.S. involvement.
“With today’s announcement from the remaining TPP member nations, countries such as Australia, Japan’s largest beef trading partner, continue to have competitive advantage over U.S. farmers and ranchers. Your action to pull the U.S. out of the TPP reset the clock and put our trade negotiators and our nation’s farmers and ranchers back at square one with some of our largest potential trading partners,” Nelson wrote.
Nebraska ranks in the top five among all states in the value of its agricultural exports in USDA’s most recent calculations. Nebraska agricultural exports reached an estimated $6.4 billion in 2015, up from $4.8 billion in 2009. International trade not only impacts farmers and ranchers, but it also plays a major role in the success or failure of Nebraska’s broader economy. As Nebraska’s largest industry, agriculture accounts for more than 40 percent of the state’s economic output and nearly 24 percent of the state’s workforce. Lower prices for virtually every agriculture commodity produced in Nebraska has lowered farm income, leading to significant state revenue shortfalls as a direct result of the weakened agriculture sector.
“The TPP agreement would have provided Nebraska with a $378.5 million yearly boost in agricultural cash receipts and increased net agricultural exports by $229.2 million per year. Along with the monetary increases, the TPP agreement was projected to create 1,730 new Nebraska jobs,” wrote Nelson. “Nations around the world are actively working to expand their agricultural markets. Our farm and ranch families cannot be left behind.”
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service and advocacy efforts. More than 61,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.