The Senate on Thursday passed the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) in a landfall vote of 89-10. As expected, the agriculture industry praised the passage and looks forward to President Donald Trump signing the bill into law.
“We’ve long waited for this day and now USMCA will finally head to the President’s desk,” Agriculture Secretary Perdue said in a statement. “The passage of USMCA is great news for America’s farmers and ranchers. With Congressional consideration now complete, our farmers and ranchers are eager to see the President sign this legislation and begin reaping the benefits of this critical agreement. I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for successfully delivering an improved and modern trade agreement and working so hard for the people of American agriculture to get this deal across the finish line.”
Farmers of all commodities are thrilled at the passage of the deal which for many was their top legislative priority.
National Corn Growers Association president and Iowa farmer Kevin Ross thanked U.S. senators who voted to ensure corn farmers will have access to Mexico and Canada.
“Nearly a year ago, NCGA’s farmer members, recognizing the importance of our trading relationship with Mexico and Canada, declared passage of USMCA their top legislative priority,” he said in a statement. “Since that time, corn farmers have been using every opportunity to urge members of Congress to support the new trade agreement and we are incredibly thankful for the strong bipartisan support it has received in the Senate today.”
Wheat farmers say the deal creates new opportunities for many farmers and is likely to fix the price of wheat.
“Trade deals can put the price of wheat back on track for many growers and create new opportunities for many farmers,” said National Association of Wheat Growers President and Lavon, Tex., farmer Ben Scholz. “NAWG applauds the U.S. Senate for moving quickly on passing USMCA out of the Chamber.”
Mexico is the top importing country of U.S. wheat, according to U.S. Wheat Associates chairman and Paulding, Ohio, farmer Doug Goyings. “Wheat farmers are relieved to see the agreement moving on to the President and I think the Mexican millers who want our wheat are relieved, too,” he said in a statement.
The agreement is also critical for beef, lamb, pork and poultry producers.
“The U.S. meat and poultry industry exports $5.5 billion annually in products to Canada and Mexico,” said American Meat Institute president and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “This agreement is critical to meat and poultry processors and the millions of U.S. farmers, ranchers, allied manufacturers and transportation companies in the food supply chain
Similarly, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom said in a statement that today’s Senate approval reaffirms the America’s commitment to two key trading partners which are critical destinations for pork, beef and lamb.
“USMEF applauds Congressional leaders and the Trump administration, especially the trade experts within USTR and USDA, for their tireless efforts to ratify USMCA, which bolsters our position as a reliable supplier to two leading markets that account for about one-third of all U.S. red meat exports,” he said. “Shipments to Mexico and Canada in 2019 totaled about 1.25 million metric tons valued at $3.8 billion, and the U.S. red meat industry looks forward to many years of further growth.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston said this deal secures duty free access for American beef into Canada and Mexico.
“NCBA has been a strong supporter of USMCA since day one, and we believe that today’s vote sends a strong message to the rest of the world that the United States believes in free and fair trade,” she said in a statement. “We are thankful to every Member of Congress in both House and Senate who voted for USMCA, and we thank President Trump for continuing to secure and defend strong market access for America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen.”
Similarly, pork producers are grateful for secured markets in Canada and Mexico.
"Ratification of USMCA has been a top priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), and we thank members of the Senate who supported this critical trade deal," said NPPC President David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, N.C. "USMCA provides U.S. pork producers with certainty in two of our largest export markets. It received strong support in both chambers of Congress, and we look forward to seeing President Trump sign it into law."
USMCA includes some key wins for dairy exports.
“USMCA makes important strides to break down trade barriers, opening the door to new opportunities and supporting the flow of high-quality American dairy products to two valuable export markets,” said Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of U.S. Dairy Export Council. “The strong enforcement measures included in the final agreement give officials the tools necessary to hold our trade partners accountable and ensure the gains secured by USMCA are completely realized. We are grateful to the Administration for the sizable accomplishments secured in USMCA on dairy. With this trade deal complete, negotiators can now turn their attention to other key markets around the world in order to gain further ground for U.S. dairy.”
Next farmers will watch Canadian implementation to ensure full compliance.
“America’s dairy farmers are celebrating today’s bipartisan vote as a win. Under President Trump’s leadership, USTR and USDA negotiated an agreement that will deliver a more certain future for our dairy farmers and rural economy,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation. “The U.S. must now remain diligent and proactively work with Canada and Mexico to implement USMCA in both letter and spirit. Full compliance is essential to achieving more fair trade with Canada and protecting American-made cheeses in Mexico.”
Not only were farmers thrilled with the trade deal progress, other industry groups also praised the deal.
Agriculture Retailers Association President and CEO Daren Coppock said in a statement that agricultural retailers and their farmer customers will directly benefit from the expanded market access and the preserved zero-tariff platforms among ag products, which is a relief during a challenging time in the ag economy.
“We applaud the efforts by the Trump administration and lawmakers on Capitol Hill for delivering this historic trade agreement to the finish line,” he said. “This agreement will advance the relationship between two of the most important markets for American farmers and agribusinesses.”
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) noted the importance USMCA will have for ethanol and distillers grains sales into Canada and Mexico.
“America’s ethanol producers look forward to seeing this important agreement in place. Canada and Mexico are among our most important and reliable export markets for both ethanol and distillers grains, and we look forward to strengthening our trading relationship with the two countries,” RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said. “USMCA is a good deal for the U.S. ethanol industry, the farmers who support us, and our industry’s partners in Canada and Mexico. We thank President Trump and Congress for getting this done.”
Equipment manufacturers thanked Congress for quick action as well.
“Equipment manufacturers, farmers, and hardworking families across the country are thankful for today’s full congressional ratification of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)," said Kip Eideberg, Association of Equipment Manufacturers senior vice president of government and industry relations. “This new agreement updates the current, decades-old trade deal, supporting a modernized global marketplace. As members of the USMCA Coalition, we are proud to have joined more than 600 associations and business groups in advocating for a stronger trade deal that will add up to $68 billion to our economy, create 176,000 jobs, and preserve duty-free market access to our Canadian and Mexican trading partners. We applaud President Trump, Vice President Pence, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, and House Speaker Pelosi for their efforts to negotiate and ratify the agreement.”
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) vice president of Stewardship and Sustainability Lara Moody today welcomed the U.S. Senate’s approval of the USMCA.
“We commend Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and members of the U.S. Senate for coming together in a bipartisan fashion to overwhelmingly approve the USMCA and we look forward to President Trump signing the deal as quickly as possible. This new agreement will provide the millions of hard-working men and women in U.S. agriculture with a huge economic win and allow them to compete on the global stage by ensuring that markets with our strongest trading partners remain open and fair,” said Moody. “Mexico and Canada are two of the United States’ biggest trading partners and together import over 60% of U.S. agricultural goods.”