Americans for Farmers and Families: Wisconsin agriculture leaders stress importance of NAFTA to Wisconsinís farm and food economy
Contact: Mark Graul, 920-217-3524
MADISON, WI (February 14, 2017) – Some of Wisconsin’s leading agricultural voices are joining forces to make the case for the need to preserve and modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). To help push for NAFTA preservation and modernization, ten Wisconsin-based groups have joined the newly-formed pro-NAFTA organization Americans for Farmers and Families(AFF). AFF is a national coalition of over 70 growers, producers, suppliers, transporters, retailers and consumers that is dedicated to educating lawmakers and the public about the importance of the Mexican and Canadian markets to America’s agricultural and retail economies.
During a tele-press conference held earlier today, Wisconsin members of AFF spoke on the importance of NAFTA to Wisconsin’s farmers and ag-based economy.
“Dairy farms in Wisconsin would be at great risk if the U.S. pulls out of NAFTA,” said Kari Kuehl, executive advisory committee chairperson of the American Dairy Association, based in Wisconsin. “We intend to do all we can to make clear to President Trump and other policymakers the need to remain in NAFTA even as discussion takes place on updating it.”
"Every potato that's sold out of the U.S. opens helps ease the pressure on oversupply in the domestic market," said Tamas Houlihan, executive director of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association. “By joining forces in Wisconsin and nationally, the agriculture industry is hoping to send a clear message on the need to preserve and enhance NAFTA – not withdraw from it.”
“Agriculture infuses nearly $90 billion each year into Wisconsin’s economy and leads to over 400,000 jobs,” said David Ward, director of government relations & dairy for the Cooperative Network. “Unquestionably, we need access to consumers in Canada and Mexico to sustain and grow our ag economy.”
“Canada and Mexico combined account for over half of the food and agriculture product exports from Wisconsin,” said Nick George, president of the Midwest Food Products Association. “We hope the president and other key leaders understand just how devastating a blow a NAFTA withdrawal would be to Wisconsin’s producers and manufacturers.”
In addition to the American Dairy Association, Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, Cooperative Network and Midwest Food Products Association, the AFF Wisconsin chapter includes the Wisconsin State Cranberry Association, Wisconsin Corn Growers Association, WIB Agri-Business Council, Wisconsin Paper Council, Edge Dairy Cooperative, and the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association.