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Farmers urge passage of Mexico-China trade deal

Signs at a rally to drum up support of the USMCA in Evansville, Indiana, on Sept. 12, 2019.

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Farmers are calling on Congress to pass a new trade deal with Mexico and China, saying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will spur profits in the heartland, where soybean and corn farmers are struggling to get by.

“Let’s get USMCA done, let’s turn our farmers loose and let’s see what potential they really have,” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said Thursday in Evansville, Indiana, at the end of a 20,000-mile, 30-state listening tour with other farming advocates.

He said the USMCA will open billions in new trade partnerships and create thousands of agriculture jobs.

“Farmers do not want aid. They want trade,” Duvall said.

Evansville farmer Randy Kron said this has been his worst year to date.

“It’s been a really tough year. It’s a lot of rain and just real challenges,” he said, noting one major contributing factor was the trade dispute with China.

He hopes the USMCA will ease some of the pressure.

“We need some market certainty, we need to know where are products are going and we need access to markets,” he said.

But Democrats aren’t sold on the plan. For months, they have pushed back, demanding better labor and drug pricing policies in the package. On Wednesday, they got revisions addressing those concerns.

Supporters want the USMCA passed by the end of October, saying it’s the best option available.

“Let’s work hard, let’s get this across the finish line,” Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., said in Evansville. “The third alternative is to have no agreement, and I think that would be disastrous.”

“Time is of the essence,” Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, added.