February 3, 2017

KFB president: 'Keep our ag export markets vibrant and growing'

Commentary by Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney

Kentucky Farm Bureau

Agriculture exports are critical to growing ag-related and rural economies. A substantial amount of Kentucky’s agricultural sales comes from exports, and while the majority of our farms in the Commonwealth are smaller, family-owned operations, each one has a role to play in providing these goods that are in demand around the world. Those operations also depend heavily on the income created by export markets. The saying about the world being smaller is true when it comes to international trade.

During our last annual meeting, the KFB board approved national priorities including the support of fair and open multilateral trade agreements that will open new markets and expand existing markets for U.S. agricultural products.

Already we have seen much movement on the part of the new administration in Washington related to international trade. As these discussions begin, it’s important to reiterate our position on these trade agreements that benefit the American farmer.

We find ourselves living in an environment where the world depends on international trade and agriculture must play a significant role in any negotiations of current or future agreements.

We encourage our lawmakers and decision makers at all levels of government to make every effort possible to keep our ag export markets vibrant and growing for the benefit of our producers across this state and the nation.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a recent statement, the organization pledges to work with the administration to help ensure that U.S. agriculture can compete on a level playing field in markets around the world. But we need the administration’s commitment to ensuring we do not lose the ground gained.

I agree and want to emphasize that while these markets are crucial to the success of our industry all the time, we are currently in the midst of declining net farm incomes. Now, more than ever, any unrealized or lost revenues can be devastating to our farms and our rural way of life.

We are always striving to create new markets both here and abroad for Kentucky products and look forward to new trade deals and fortified existing agreements. We offer our support in making that happen. But, as advocates, we must be diligent in our efforts to have our voices heard in all matters related to the sustainability of our American agriculture industry.

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