Farmers for Free Trade and the Arkansas Farm Bureau applauded Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson for proclaiming December 8th Agriculture Trade Awareness Day in Arkansas. Farmers for Free Trade is a bipartisan campaign, co-chaired by former Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) working to rebuild bipartisan support for trade at the grassroots level.
Farmers for Free Trade is currently working in states across the country, including Arkansas to engage state government, rural community leaders, and farmers and ranchers on the importance of opening global markets for U.S. agriculture. That engagement includes education, organization, and advocacy efforts.
Farmers for Free Trade has prioritized work at the grassroots level in Arkansas because of the state’s dependence on access to foreign markets, particularly NAFTA partners. 32% of Arkansas goods exports, more $1.8 billion in 2016 went to either Canada or Mexico. That includes annual Arkansas NAFTA exports totaling nearly 167 million in poultry and eggs, over 127 million in meat products, and nearly 82 million in grain exports. Estimates show that over 105,000 Arkansas jobs are supported by trade with NAFTA partners.
“In Arkansas, trade is what helps sustain so many hard working farmers and ranchers,” said Senator Max Baucus Co-Chair of Farmers for Free Trade. “Agriculture trade helps keep farmers afloat at a time when domestic farm incomes are in decline, helps boost the Arkansas economy, and helps feed the world. Farmers for Free Trade’s mission is to ensure that the Arkansas farmers who put food on the table have a seat at the table when trade policy decisions are being made. Senator Lugar and I applaud Governor Hutchinson for proclaiming Agriculture Trade Awareness Day and for his recognition of the benefits trade provides to the agricultural community across Arkansas.”