The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry held a hearing Wednesday on the “Perspectives of the Livestock and Poultry Sectors.”
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) saw the hearing as an opportunity to hear from “a business fraught with ever-evolving challenges.” One challenge most spoke to was the pending ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
A National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) representative first spoke ahead of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Jennifer Houston, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, started by thanking the Committee for its efforts related to the Tyson Foods packing plant fire.
Houston then spoke to the need for competitive market access to a growing global consumer base, which in turn would help further success in the U.S. beef industry.
“The Chinese market holds a lot of promise for U.S. beef exports, but not until we resolve retaliatory tariffs and remove the non-science based trade barriers on U.S. beef,” Houston said. “We need Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement to send a message to the rest of the world that the U.S. is open for business.”
Ron Kardel, of Walcott, Iowa, spoke on behalf of the National Turkey Federation. Kardel’s testimony mimicked Houston’s, as he emphasized the opportunities provided through expanded market access.
“Expanded trade offers significant growth for our industry. Therefore, we strongly urge Congress to vote on USMCA this fall. We have a fantastic relationship with our business partners in Mexico and Canada, and ratifying this agreement would only improve that bond,” Kardel said.
Kardel notes, “In 2018, Mexico imported $323 million of U.S. turkey products.” He further adds, “The U.S.-Mexico-Canada-Agreement preserves access to Mexico and allows greater access for product going to Canada.”
Trent Thiele, of Elma, Iowa, spoke on behalf of the Iowa Pork Producers Association and National Pork Producers Council. Thiele stressed the significant need for a ratified agreement.
“Last year, more than 40-percent of U.S. pork exported went to Canada and Mexico. U.S. pork producers urge Congress to ratify USMCA,” Thiele said.