Nebraskans Push Obama to Move on Trade Agreements

Governor, ag director and farm organizations sign letter.

Published on: Apr 14, 2011

Gov. Dave Heineman and Greg Ibach, Nebraska agriculture director, sent a letter to President Obama urging him to work with the U.S. Congress to pass the South Korea, Colombia and Panama Free Trade Agreements.

Leaders from 14 Nebraska agriculture organizations also signed the letter.

"Agriculture is our number one industry, and Nebraska is routinely among the top five states in the nation for agricultural exports," Heineman says. "The completion of these trade agreements will provide the opportunity for economic growth in our state through tariff reductions that will improve our global competitiveness."

Ibach says the agreements will improve markets for a number of Nebraska commodities and products, including corn, soybeans, wheat, beef and pork.

"Increases in agricultural exports mean positive impacts to other segments of our economy, including warehousing, transportation and financing," according to Ibach. "These agreements will be positive for our farmers and ranchers, but also the state as a whole."

Organizations that joined the Governor in signing the letter to the President include: Nebraska Soybean Association, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Wheat Board, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Poultry Industries, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Grain Sorghum Board, Nebraska Grain Sorghum Producers Association, Nebraska Sugarbeet Growers Association, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Wheat Growers Association and Nebraska Dry Bean Commission.

It is estimated at the national level, the three agreements will provide opportunities for additional exports of $11 billion to South Korea, $3 billion to Colombia and $1 billion to Panama. The three agreements are in various stages of movement, including recent hearings by the House Committee on Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee and an announcement by President Obama last week regarding action on the Colombia agreement.