Did you know that agricultural exports provide over 20 percent of U.S. farm income and support one million American jobs? Or that one in every three farm acres is planted for export? Or how about the fact that for every $1 of agricultural exports, another $1.22 is generated in business activity, sending a positive ripple effect throughout the entire economy, especially in rural areas?
Yes, trade plays a major role in boosting the U.S. agricultural economy, but opportunities remain for trade to improve the bottom line for U.S. farmers even more. One of those opportunities includes passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). You’ve probably heard TPP mentioned on the campaign trail by Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump (both oppose it). Or maybe one of your friends or family members has shared a TPP-related meme on Facebook or another social media outlet.
So what is TPP? In a nutshell, TPP is a trade agreement negotiated, but yet to be approved, by the United States and 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. If approved, TPP could end up being the largest U.S. regional trade agreement in history.
If passed, the positive impact of TPP would be felt right here in the corn fields of Minnesota. Over $9 billion in goods were exported from Minnesota to TPP countries in 2015. Nearly 5,000 companies — 86 percent of them small and mid-size companies — exported goods to TPP countries last year.
An analysis of TPP by the American Farm Bureau Federation concluded that TPP could boost U.S. net farm income by $4.4 billion annually. A good portion of that income boost would trickle through Minnesota farm country.
The passage of TPP would open new markets for food and agricultural products grown and produced right here in our state. It would also eliminate the use of agricultural export subsidies, discourage countries from imposing export restrictions, and ensure a transparent and science-based approach to food safety and animal and plant health measures.
Speaking out in support of TPP
Recently, 6,000 corn growers from throughout the United States sent letters urging Congress to take up and pass TPP in 2016. Nearly 1,200 of those letters — the most of any state in the nation — came from Minnesota.
“Minnesota corn farmers see a lot of opportunities with TPP,” said Anna Boroff, Public Policy Director for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. “With corn prices low and farm revenue down, it’s important that we do everything we can to open new markets and create new opportunities to add value to the crop we grow right here in our state.”
If you have yet to tell Congress to take up and pass TPP in 2016, you can still do so by going here. In less than 5 minutes, you can tell your congressional representative why passing TPP is important to your farm operation and rural Minnesota.
If you’re looking for additional information and resources on TPP and what it means for Minnesota farmers and U.S. agriculture, here are a couple of useful links: