Just over one month after its national launch, Americans for Farmers & Families (AFF) has quickly grown and expanded, having secured its hundredth member organization. AFF is a broad-based coalition of growers, refiners, producers, transporters, retailers and consumers that is working to ensure President Donald Trump and Congressional leaders understand the importance of preserving and modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to America’s agricultural and retail economies.
As part of these efforts, AFF has launched robust educational campaigns in Washington, D.C. and eight states where local economies are particularly reliant on NAFTA, laying the groundwork for an updated trade agreement that preserves America’s strong economic standing for decades to come.
“NAFTA is a critical component of Wisconsin’s and America’s economy – especially for our farmers, food processors and manufacturers,” said U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). “I share the same vision of fair, reciprocal and robust trade with Canada and Mexico that Americans for Farmers & Families is advocating. I look forward to working with AFF and other allies to informing President Trump of the importance of preserving NAFTA while updating and modernizing it to fully reflect today’s economy and opportunities.”
Since taking effect in 1994, the positive impacts of NAFTA extend beyond America’s farming community and have helped the food and agricultural industries grow to support more than 43 million jobs. But it is rural economies and communities that are among the biggest winners under NAFTA, the very same communities that powered President Trump to victory in 2016.
“NAFTA has opened markets for America’s farmers and ranchers, and U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have quadrupled under the agreement, so it is not surprising to see such a wide breadth of support behind this coalition,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and a member of AFF’s leadership committee. “The Farm Bureau is pleased to work with AFF to engage farmers and leaders at the local, state and national levels, and deliver that message to Congress and the President.”
Under NAFTA, food and agriculture exports have boomed, and now account for 25 percent of American exports. One in every 10 acres of American crops is for export to NAFTA partners. NAFTA has fueled the growth of agriculture-related industries, which in turn has been a driver in growing American jobs. Today, American food and agriculture supports more than 20 percent of the U.S. workforce and provides more manufacturing jobs than any other sector. And NAFTA has helped keep grocery prices down for all Americans.
“Farm Belt voters supported President Trump by a three-to-one margin in the last election and they are counting on him to improve NAFTA in the modernization negotiations,” said John Bode, president and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association and a member of AFF’s leadership committee. “Truth be told, some farmers are still farming today only because of NAFTA. It must be modernized, but preserved. With several of President Trump’s cabinet members having expressed their support for updating the agreement, we are confident the President will use his considerable experience as a negotiator to make NAFTA better.”
NAFTA has opened markets to America’s farmers, grown domestic jobs and supported $127 billion in annual economic activity. As President Trump’s negotiators are debating major changes to the agreement, we will ensure they keep a clear eye on the positive impact NAFTA has had on the American economy, job growth and wages.
“We have been active participants in this discussion and look forward to continuing to work with the administration and leaders in Congress to ensure the growers, producers, processors, transporters, retailers and consumers we represent have their voices heard,” added Chris Novak, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association and another member of AFF’s leadership committee. “This issue is simply too important for us to sit on the sidelines.”
For more information on AFF, including an initial membership list, please visit https://americansforfarmersand