The South Dakota Corn Growers Association says it strongly supports the free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that President Obama recently sent to Congress
"These agreements will open up important export market opportunities for South Dakota producers," SDCGA President Gary Duffy of Oldham says. "The longer we wait for free-trade agreements to be ratified, the longer farmers lose out on an important market share in those three nations. We're confident these agreements have bipartisan support and we believe Congress will act quickly."
Duffy says each of the three nations is an important market for grains and co-products.
U.S. corn growers have watched other nations gain a competitive edge through trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, according to SD Corn Growers.
These new agreements would provide significant opportunities for U.S. agriculture by immediately eliminating import duties on the vast majority of commodities, such as corn, other coarse grains and co-products such as distillers grains.
Global trade is important to South Dakota farmers, Duffy says. The state exported $2.3 billion worth of agricultural products to all countries in 2009, including $606 million worth of feed grains, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service. The export markets add value to American products.
The quality of U.S. corn makes it a highly sought commodity in nations with growing middle classes and a rising demand for protein. Government and industry estimates say the three FTAs will result in an additional $2.5 billion in sales and lead to the creation of more than 20,000 jobs.
Source: SD Corn