While many United States trade officials are promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as an export-boon for agriculture, the National Farmers Union (NFU) continues to stand strong in their opposition of the free trade agreement. NFU, representing nearly 200,000 family farmers and ranchers, hosted a media teleconference this morning to talk about the TPP and announce a letter signed by 160 food, farm, faith and rural groups.
“We are very clear in our position on TPP. We oppose it. There are a number of reasons for that, but the big message we want to get across to the American public that agriculture is not unanimously supporting this agreement,” said NFU President Roger Johnson during the teleconference.
Along with NFU President Roger Johnson, featured speakers included Representative Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), Dr. Robert Taylor, an agricultural economist at Auburn University, and Steve Nein, a rancher from Colorado. The geographical diversity of the speakers represents the nationwide concern of the trade agreement.
“Opposing TPP is not an anti-trade movement, I would argue that it is a pro-US trade movement. NFU supports trade, we all support trade, we want to sell more of our stuff, but we want it to be fair.” said Johnson. “We as a country have exactly the wrong goal when we send our trade negotiators over to negotiate trade agreements and only tell them to get more trade, as if there is no difference between imports and exports. It is causing our economy to shrink.”
The conference ended with Johnson’s call to action for all producers who stand in support of NFU’s position on TPP.
“Keep talking to your representatives. TPP is negotiated. We know what’s in it, and we don’t like it. So the message to producers and members of the Farmer’s Union is to get in touch with their Congress Representatives and let them know that we don’t like this agreement, so don’t vote for it,” he said.
Listen to the full press conference here:
NFU Media Teleconference on TPP