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It’s not every day that a dairy farmer and the Vice President of the United States share the same stage.

I had the unique opportunity to participate in a panel discussion at a USMCA rally hosted by America First Policies on October 23. Congressman Grothman; Zachary Mottl, chief alignment officer at Atlas Tools & Die Works; and I were part of the panel that discussed USMCA in front of a crowd of several hundred rally attendees at one of Uline’s warehouses in Kenosha County.

As a dairy farmer in Kenosha County, this event was right in my backyard and I am humbled by the opportunity to share dairy’s perspective on USMCA. This updated trade agreement between our North American partners would allow new market access for dairy products into Canada and maintains zero tariffs on all other ag products and ag products into Mexico. Additionally, this agreement will level the playing field by creating consistent sanitary and phytosanitary standards. The USMCA is not a one-way street, it is beneficial for all three nations and will hold us all accountable for free and fair trading practices.

U.S. dairy farmers faced challenges with Canada’s Class 7 dairy pricing. By eliminating this class, through the USMCA, U.S. dairy products will gain access to an additional 3.6% of Canada’s dairy market. Currently, the annual value of dairy products being exported to Canada is about $600 million. The estimated value of the increased access is $242 million, which is even better than the terms in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  

This new trade agreement will not only be beneficial for agriculture, but for other industries that play a vital role in Wisconsin’s economy as well. My fellow panel members stressed the important updates made in the USMCA for manufacturing. They were both optimistic that the trade agreement will bring additional jobs to America and strengthen our nation’s economy.

After we wrapped up our discussion, Vice President Pence addressed the crowd. He stressed how important this agreement will be for making North American countries strong trading allies and the number of jobs this could bring to the U.S.

Wisconsin was the prime location to host this event. According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, in 2018 our state exported $3.5 billion of agricultural products. Canada and Mexico are our number one and number three export markets, respectively.

The agriculture community has been patiently waiting for Congress to vote on the USMCA. I urge Congress to take the steps necessary to vote on the USMCA and encourage swift approval of this updated trade deal. Our nation’s farmers are good at what they do, growing and raising wholesome food products, so good in fact, that we rely on trade to help us be profitable. The agriculture community is calling on Congress to pass the USMCA in 2019.

Our nation’s farmers are hardworking people who need the support of our elected officials in pushing USMCA across the finish line to implementation.

Dave Daniels is a dairy farmer from Kenosha County

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