LINCOLN — The Nebraska Farm Bureau has identified priority actions for the Biden administration to help expand markets for Nebraska agricultural commodities in 2021. Due to growth in international trade, the value of Nebraska’s agricultural exports now consistently accounts for 30 percent of the state’s total agricultural receipts.
“Most of the world population and customers for the agricultural commodities and products we produce in Nebraska reside outside U.S. borders. Growing markets is vital to the health and profitability of our family businesses,” said Mark McHargue, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “It’s critical the new administration understand the connection. It’s the reason we’ve identified actions President-Elect Biden can take to support our farm and ranch families.”
Topping the list are actions specific to China. Nebraska Farm Bureau is calling on the administration to fully enforce the U.S. China Phase One Trade Agreement that obligates China to purchase up to $36.5 billion in U.S. agriculture products in 2020 and $80 billion in total over the next two years. At the end of October, China had exported or contracted for the sale of nearly 71 percent of the 2020 goal.
“We must hold China accountable for meeting the Phase One deal, but President-Elect Biden must also focus on working with like-minded countries in a multilateral approach to dealing with China to normalize long-term trade relations. Those negotiations should push for the complete elimination of all tariffs on U.S. agriculture products going into China, as well as require China to comply with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, and the elimination of intellectual property theft in all U.S. sectors,” said McHargue. “Only then should the administration consider removing the tariffs President Trump enacted on Chinese goods.”
Other Farm Bureau priorities for the administration include Congressional reauthorization of Trade Promotion Authority for the President, providing the administration flexibility to negotiate trade agreements. Securing trade deals with the United Kingdom and the European Union that utilize science-based trade rules, also made the list. Farm Bureau is also encouraging the administration to continue the Trump administration’s negotiations with Kenya, as a starting point for further trade deals with African countries.
“We’re also encouraging President-Elect Biden to actively work for the U.S. to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). While Nebraska farmers and ranchers have captured a large portion of the benefits of CPTPP participation in the way of lower tariffs on U.S. beef and pork through President Trump’s trade deal with Japan, the recent Regional Comprehensive Economic partnership (RCEP) trade agreement between many of the CPTPP nations and China has allowed China to further expand its influence with countries in the Asia-Pacific region to the potential detriment of future U.S. trade relations in the region,” said McHargue.
Farm Bureau is also calling for actions related to the WTO, the entity tasked with governing global trade rules between nations. Farm Bureau is urging the Biden administration to help re-establish the WTO appellate body charged with hearing appeals to WTO rulings, as well as reiterating the importance of the WTO enforcing existing trade rules.
“U.S. agriculture wins under a global, rules-based trading system because our farmers and ranchers have the capability to beat all global competitors when it comes to producing agricultural commodities and agricultural products,” said McHargue. “Our members benefit when the WTO functions correctly.”
In addition to identifying trade priorities, the Nebraska Farm Bureau issued its 2019 Nebraska Agriculture and International Trade report. The report estimates the dollars and cents value of agricultural trade to Nebraska, projecting estimates for the value of agricultural trade for each Nebraska county, as well as per-farm estimates. The report, issued annually since 2017, acts as a barometer demonstrating the importance of trade to farmers, ranchers, and Nebraska’s economy. The estimates are calculated using USDA’s final trade numbers released in October of the following year.
The 2019 report denotes the value of Nebraska agricultural exports at $6.3 billion in 2019, the lowest dollar value of Nebraska agricultural exports since 2010. Nebraska continued to be the sixth-largest agriculture exporting state in 2019, with Nebraska topping the nation in exports of beef, while being the second largest exporter of hides and skins, the third largest exporter of corn, feed, and processed grain products, and the fifth largest exporter of soybeans, soybean meal, and vegetable oil.
The report tabbed the per-unit value of agricultural trade for soybeans at $6.78 cents per bushel, $0.84 per bushel for corn, and $2.58 per bushel for wheat. The report projected the per-unit value of trade at $209.47 per head for beef and $71.53 per head for pork.
According to the report, 77 Nebraska counties experienced a decline in the value of agricultural exports in 2019 in comparison to the prior year, with only four counties, Cheyenne, Gage, Jefferson, and Otoe, experiencing a gain.
Platte County reclaimed the top spot in terms of value of agricultural exports in 2019, surpassing Custer County, the top export county in 2018. Platte County experienced an estimated $172 million in value from agriculture trade in 2019.
Phelps County again scored as the most reliant on trade on a per-farm basis, with an export value per-farm of $292,000.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Trade Agenda 2021 policy priorities guide and the Nebraska Farm Bureau’s 2019 Nebraska Agriculture and International Trade report are available online at www.nefb.org.
A recording of today’s news conference can be found HERE.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service, and advocacy efforts. More than 58,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.
— Nebraska Farm Bureau
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