Yet again Idaho gave the nation a lesson in what it means to ‘love thy neighbor’. Facing freezing temperatures, potato farmers in eastern Idaho rushed to complete their harvest before mother nature destroyed their season’s work. For some, this was the difference between going broke or putting something in the bank.

As some were fortunate enough to finish, instead of taking a well-deserved break, selfless farmers rushed to their neighbors’ fields to try and save their crops. It’s nothing short of heartwarming to see the caravan of farm equipment on a video posted by Jason Larson with the caption “When your neighbors are in trouble, and their crop is going to get frozen, you lend a hand.”. Potatoes may be the commodity, but in this case, charity is the export.

In the concrete jungle of D.C., harvest for Congress doesn’t always seem to be as productive. However, this year we have an opportunity to do something productive and meaningful for our farmers. It’s time to pass the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA).

For our grain producers, Canada has agreed to grade imports of United States wheat in a manner no less favorable than it accords Canadian wheat and to not require a country of origin statement on its quality grade or inspection certificate. 

For our dairy farmers, as a result of USMCA negotiations, Canada will eliminate what is known as its milk classes 6 and 7.  In addition, Canada will apply export charges to many of its dairy exports, which will allow United States producers to expand sales overseas.  As you are probably aware, Idaho is the #3 dairy-producing state in the country so increased access for dairy is a huge win for our state.

Our potato farmers benefit under USMCA. Perhaps more importantly, the completion of this trade agreement will open the door for a much needed and anxiously awaited trade deal with Japan that offers incredible opportunity for Idaho potato farmers.

The USMCA will open new markets for Idaho farmers and increase U.S. agriculture and food exports by more than $2 billion annually.  To the men and women who feed the world, this trade deal matters, and it’s time to lend a hand.”