Today, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, an outspoken advocate for Nebraska exports, convened a meeting with Gerónimo Gutiérrez, Mexican Ambassador to the United States, and Nebraska agriculture leaders to discuss trade, tariffs, and the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Sasse welcomed Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson, Nebraska Corn Growers Association President Dan Wesely, U.S. Dry Bean Council and Nebraska Dry Bean Commission Representative Cindi Allen, and Chairman for the Joint International Trade Committee at the National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates Randon Peters to the meeting.
"Walking right to the brink of a trade war is dangerous,” said Senator Sasse. “As the anti-trade nonsense in Washington gets louder, our trading partners are getting ready to retaliate against Nebraska agriculture. A trade war would needlessly target Nebraska farmers and ranchers. Here's the good news: free-trade is a win-win for our state. The best advocates for trade are Nebraskans. We know trade best because we do it better than anyone – it’s our job to feed the world. That’s why it’s good to have these Nebraskans at the table with the ambassador today. Our message is simple: Mexico wants Nebraska agriculture and we want Mexico’s money for our crops."
Reaction from Nebraska’s ag leaders is found below:
Steve Nelson, President, Nebraska Farm Bureau -- Axtell, Nebraska:
"This is about the importance of trade to our almost 60,000 member families that make up the Nebraska Farm Bureau. Senator Sasse, the Nebraska Farm Bureau, and our whole state get this: trade wars destabilize markets — hurting producers and consumers. NAFTA is good for Nebraska and good for America."
Randon Peters, Immediate Past President, Nebraska Wheat Growers Association, Chairman for the Joint International Trade Committee at the National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates -- McCook, Nebraska:
"Half of Nebraska's wheat is exported annually — that’s why low tariffs and trade deals like NAFTA matter to our producers. The rhetoric on trade coming out of Washington is already having real impacts for our wheat growers in Nebraska — for the first time ever, Mexico is buying wheat from Argentina and pulling back from Nebraska producers. Trade is good for Nebraska, and on behalf of our state’s wheat farmers I'd like to thank Senator Sasse for being a strong free trade advocate in public and behind the scenes."
Dan Wesely, President, Nebraska Corn Growers Association -- Morse Bluff, Nebraska:
"Corn is Nebraska’s number one export to Mexico and free trade is a huge reason why. Nebraska’s corn growers are appreciative of Senator Sasse and his promotion of free trade in expanding opportunities for Nebraska corn and value-added products."
Cindi Allen, U.S. Dry Bean Council, Nebraska Dry Bean Commission -- Ogallala, Nebraska:
"Nebraska has the world’s best farmland, and our dry bean growers are proud of our contributions. Trade deals with countries like Mexico and Canada are vitally important to our state and our livelihoods. We appreciate the support that Senator Sasse is giving Nebraskans as NAFTA negotiations continue."