The head of the Farm Credit Administration recently told House Ag lawmakers that concluding pending trade deals is probably the most important thing Congress can do to help the depressed farm economy. FCA Chair and CEO Glen Smith said restoring farm profitability is his top concern, but it will take more than the well-capitalized and sound farm credit system he claims exists today.
“Restoring our markets would be critical to looking at a long-term solution to bringing us back to profitability. We received MFP payments, short-term payments, which have helped shore up short-term deficits. It’s been welcome. Long-term, though, we need those markets back.”
And what does that look like specifically?
“The two big issues of trade that appears to be in front of agriculture right now is USMCA and a possible bilateral with Japan…and swift passage of those, I believe, would certainly assist us in our negotiations with China.”
The $55 billion trade deal President Trump signed with Japan early last month, must still be ratified by the Japanese legislature. It will lower or even end tariffs on many key U.S. farm goods.
All this, as ag struggles with a 24% jump this year in farm bankruptcies, depressed investment from lower crop prices and reduced demand, still high land and input prices, a tight labor market and for much of the nation, poor weather.
Labor union chief Richard Trumka is warning House Democrats not to speed approval of USMCA arguing the trade deal is far from complete and predicts it will fail if voted too soon. However, Top Hill Republicans and Democrats predict just the opposite.
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