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Agriculture Counting On Full Harvest For Farm Bill And NAFTA

Zippy Duvall
May 17, 2018
American Farm Bureau

Farmers across the country are finishing another planting season, and there’s nothing quite like the optimism and faith that goes into this season of farming. We cannot know what Mother Nature or the markets will bring next, but we plant and hope, expectant for a good year. We also know our job is far from over once the seeds are in the ground. While farming takes a great deal of faith, it also takes a lot of hard work and tending to see a crop to harvest.

America’s farmland aren’t the only fields that need tending at the end of this spring planting season. We’ve sown good policy seeds on issues of great importance to farmers and ranchers this year, and now is the time for us to carefully tend, water and nourish those seeds till they bring a full harvest for our rural economy.

Another crop nearing harvest is NAFTA 2.0. Time is quickly running out for negotiators to reach an agreement this year. If a final trade agreement is going to make it to Congress in time for them to review this session, it needs to be sent to the Hill by week’s end. Negotiators are still ironing out details, however. One sticking point that remains for U.S. agriculture is Canada’s unfair dairy pricing scheme. A couple key areas for agriculture have resolved in these talks already, like updated sanitary standards and a scientific approach to biotechnology. But to truly call this a modernized agreement, NAFTA 2.0 should work for all of U.S. agriculture. NAFTA has been a great success for America’s farmers and ranchers, and that must continue. We will continue to work with the administration and Congress to ensure the crops farmers planted this spring have a market at harvest.

Farmers know how quickly weeds, pests and disease can threaten a plant and destroy it before it’s full grown—or worse, wipe out a crop altogether. That’s why we are so vigilant to guard against threats and to target pests, disease and drought before it’s too late. We are putting that same watchfulness to the policy issues before us this week, and we are hopeful that our labors will yield a harvest of opportunity for all of rural America.

Vincent “Zippy” Duvall, a poultry, cattle and hay producer from Greene County, Georgia, is the 12th president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

To access the op-ed, click here.