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Congresswoman Robin Kelly Votes “YES” on Key Trade Deal, Will Benefit Local Farmers & Businesses

Dec 19, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Robin Kelly joined an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives to approve the revised United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA).

“The Second District is unique; it encompasses urban, suburban and rural communities, including parts of the nation’s 3rd largest city and more than 1,200 farms. Representing this district gives me a unique insight into the challenges and impacts of any new trade deal on our communities,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly. “Trade deals are only good when they benefit Illinois farmers, workers and businesses. After rounds of critical negotiations and revisions, I’m confident that the newly revised USMCA will grow the economy and opportunity in Illinois.”

According to the Illinois Farm Bureau, one in five Illinois acres are planted to feed consumers in Mexico and Canada. Illinois farmer sell roughly one billion in agricultural exports to our northern and southern neighbor which supports thousands of Illinois jobs.

In an OpEd for the Kankakee Daily Journal explaining her support for the revised trade agreement, Congresswoman Kelly highlighted the significant challenges facing local farmers, namely the failed trade war and recent extreme weather.

During the first two days of the failed Trump Trade War, Illinois soybean and pork producers lost a collective $380 million in market value. As the trade war continued, Illinois farmers lost market share to competitors from Brazil and Russia. These bad trade policies coupled with low commodity prices have been driving a historic level of farm bankruptcies, especially family farms. Additionally, extreme weather has delayed planting and destroyed crops across the Midwest increasing the pressure on already struggling farmers.

“The men and women who feed our families are in desperate need of a critical lifeline. The USMCA coupled with other efforts, like delaying crop insurance premium payments, are critical efforts to stem the tide and start reversing years of thin margins and losses,” added Congresswoman Kelly.

The Congresswoman’s vote has won support from key agriculture groups in Illinois.

“Illinois Farm Bureau greatly appreciates Congresswoman Kelly’s vote for the U.S. Mexico Canada Free Trade Agreement,” said Illinois Farm Bureau president Richard Guebert, Jr., a southern Illinois grain farmer. “Rep. Kelly spends a lot of time talking to farmers in her district and understands they are under a lot of financial and emotional stress these days.   Over the course of the last several months, the Congresswoman has listened carefully to the need to expand exports and she recognizes that USMCA will create value in the 2nd District. We are grateful for Rep. Kelly’s continued strong record on issues important to Illinois agriculture.”

“Today’s USMCA passage will be stability to the marketplace that Illinois corn farmers desperately need.  Mexico is the largest purchaser of corn and dried distillers grains with soluables.  Canada is the second largest purchaser of ethanol.  Together, our neighbors make up our largest and most reliable customers for corn and 25 percent of U.S. agricultural trade.  I am so pleased and grateful for an agreement that solidifies our relationship,” said Bill Leigh, Illinois Corn Growers Association President.

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Robin Kelly

 

 

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