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Time to Talk Up Trade

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Time to Talk Up Trade

Tom Sleight
Tom Sleight

President Obama has said he will put the TPP trade deal before the lame duck Congress this fall. But trade is getting a bad rap in the current presidential campaign, and farmers are being urged to talk up the benefits of trade. Tom Sleight, CEO of the U.S. Grains Council, says U.S. agriculture is one of the most international parts of the U.S. economy, “Nothing happens anywhere in the world that it does not have an impact on some part of a U.S. farmer’s operation.” He added, likewise, what happens in American agriculture is having an impact on the price and supply of food around the world.

Thus, what happens in trade circles has a direct impact on the bottom line of producers, “Trade has always had some impact on the price of what is produced on the farm, but, now more than ever, exports are driving the prices farmers get for what they produce.”

So, he says it is time farmers speak up and stand up for the positive benefits of trade and trade agreements, “Agriculture is at the top of the list when it comes to positive contributions to the U.S. balance of trade. Trade agreements like the TPP are a key component to the future of American agriculture.”  He added that farmers need to remember that the majority of the customers for their products live outside the U.S.

Sleight says demand from the world market is what it is going to take to laterally eat through our large surplus and improve prices, “I think we are going to see a pickup in exports of feed grains over the next twelve months.”  He said when trade works the world wins and suggested that farmers need to be more aggressive in talking up the benefits of trade.