Oklahoma Farm Bureau's Rodd Moesel Talks About the Importance of the Passage of USMCAMon, 27 May 2019 09:52:49 CDT
International trade will always be a hot topic when it comes to agriculture. With the Farmers for Free Trade motorcade coming through Oklahoma this week, that’s just what was talked about. Rodd Moesel, president of Oklahoma Farm Bureau, sat down with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn earlier this week to discuss trade.
“A lot of people don’t realize how much we count on trade in agriculture,” Moesel said. “30 to 40% of most of the commodities that we grow in Oklahoma go out of the country to Canada, Mexico or other countries.”
Moesel said, that markets in the U.S. are dependent on international markets to have customers around the world. In Oklahoma farmers feel a moral responsibility to produce food to help feed the world, he added.
“We take great pride as Oklahoma farmers in not only feeding our own and our fellow Americans,” Moesel said. “But in helping the nutritional level and providing more calories for people around the world.”
We produce all of this food with prices lower now than before. Commodity prices are roughly 50% lower now than they were 5 years ago.
“Our farmers are under stress right now.” Moesel said. “They are only getting about half of the income now that they would have gotten 5 years ago. That makes international markets that much more important.”
In the United States agriculture exports are the biggest contributors to the positive side of global trade, Moesel said. The U.S. imports many items that agriculture exports offset.
“Agriculture exports are not only important to our farmers and the value-added industries, but it’s important to all of our citizens,” Moesel said. “The amount of agriculture exports creates a trade surplus in our country.”
In Oklahoma, our farmers are a little better off than other parts of the country, he added.
“When I visit with people at the Federal Reserve and other firms, we as Oklahomans have not been hit as hard or had as many bankruptcies than other states,” Moesel said. “Part of that is because our operations grow a multitude of crops or have beef operations along with crops. This gives our famers some diversification to fight some things.”
Our farmers are better off than some but they are not out of the woods. Oklahoma farmers are dipping into their savings more and taking out bigger loans to stay in business, he added.
“Oklahoma farmers need international markets to keep them viable and in business,” Moesel said.
As far as the USMCA is concerned Moesel says that everyone needs to know the importance of its passage.
“Our primary audience is our 5 congressmen and two senators here in Oklahoma,” Moesel said. “We have appealed to them to support this issue and to push its passage right away. The sooner it gets done the sooner we can have leverage on other trade agreements around the world.”
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