Ag News -
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 08:28
By Sue Schulte
Passage of the Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Columbia and Panama will benefit Kansas corn farmers, according to the Kansas Corn Growers Association. The Kansas Congressional delegation was unanimous in its support of the votes on the three free trade agreements, which passed the House and Senate last night.
"Agricultural exports are vital to Kansas' economy and our delegation understands that," according to KCGA President Bob Timmons of Fredonia. "Without trade agreements, we were losing ground in these important markets, not only for our grains, but also exports of meat fed with Kansas grains and distillers grains from our Kansas ethanol plants."
In 2010, Kansas was the nation's top exporter of feeds and the fifth largest exporter of feed grains. Kansas agricultural exports were valued at nearly $5 billion in 2010. The total value of feedgrain and feed exports, totaled $1.5 billion; while wheat and soybean sales add another $2 billion.
Since the EU-Korea trade agreement went into effect July 1, European exports to Korea have increased 36 percent from a year earlier. U.S. farmers have already lost more than $1 billion in sales to Colombia in the two years since that country implemented a trade deal with Argentina and Brazil. The Colombia-Canada Free Trade Agreement that took effect August 15 has also put U.S. workers and farmers at a disadvantage.
Kansas Corn Commissioner Terry Vinduska, Marion, recently completed his term as chairman of the US Grains Council. Vinduska outlined the importance of ratifying the trade agreements
"These trade agreements will level the playing field and allow us to compete for markets for U.S. grain exports of and other U.S. ag commodities," Vinduska said. "All three of these countries represent promising markets for our ag products. Korea is already an important trading partner the Korea trade agreement will help us develop that market, but Colombia and Panama also have great potential."
Senator Pat Roberts and Senator Jerry Moran voted for the three free trade agreements on the Senate Floor last night. First District Congressman Tim Huelskamp, Second District Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, Third District Congressman Kevin Yoder and Fourth District Congressman Mike Pompeo all voted in favor of the trade agreements on the House floor last night.
The Kansas Corn Growers Association is a membership-based organization, providing legislative and regulatory representation for its member. The Kansas Corn Commission administers the half-cent per bushel corn checkoff in the areas of market development, research, promotion and education.