Frank Lucas: Oklahoma Agriculture Is Witnessing Real ResultsWed, 05 Feb 2020 11:04:06 CST
Oklahoma’s agriculture producers know that farming and ranching comes with a unique set of challenges and an exorbitant amount of risk. Our farmers and ranchers rise day in and day out to feed our families, clothe our communities, and fuel our rural economies.
Every Oklahoman can agree, it takes a very special person, supported by a very strong family, to be willing to take the risks that are associated with being a producer.
After years of battling low prices, high production costs, and challenging weather, Oklahoma’s ag producers will soon witness real results thanks to recently signed trade deals.
And while these deals were only recently signed this past month, these historic agreements bring a small piece of hope to our farmers by expanding crucial markets while reducing tariffs allowing our producers to compete on a level playing field.
The first monumental trade agreement is the USMCA or the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Before signing this agreement, our nation operated under NAFTA- an agreement signed just over 25 years ago.
It goes without question, USMCA was sorely needed to modernize the trade relationship between the United States and our neighbors to the North and South.
Trade with Mexico and Canada supports over 112,000 Oklahoma jobs- including 15,200 agricultural jobs and we export over $1.8 billion worth of agricultural goods annually.
In previous years, Oklahoma exported nearly 40% of its pork products to Mexico. We also shipped more than $41 million worth of wheat to our neighbors to the South.
In short, USMCA presents an opportunity to build upon this success by bringing continental trade into the 21st century.
The second trade deal bringing results to Oklahoma’s farms is the U.S.-China Phase-One trade deal.
For far too long, China’s one-sided trade practices have been harmful to Oklahoma’s farmers, manufacturers, and workers.
Through the Phase-One trade deal, the United States is taking one big step towards a more equitable, stronger, and reliable trade relationship with China.
When it comes to agriculture, in 2017 alone, Oklahoma exported more than $68 million worth of oilseeds and grains as well as $35 million worth of meat products to China.
China is also a major importer of U.S. soybeans and, according to data, almost two-thirds of Oklahoma soybeans are exported overseas. Coming from a state who produced more than $142.6 million worth of soybeans in 2018, the U.S.-China Phase-One trade deal is promising news.
During his State of the Union speech to Congress in 1985, President Reagan said, “there are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.”
Last night we heard a similar message from President Donald Trump.
President Reagan was right in 1985, as is President Trump in 2020. The tens of thousands of producers across Oklahoma are waiting no longer.
Under the Trump Administration, Oklahoma’s farmers finally have a trade agreement that works for them.
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