Amid the constant buzz of partisan politics in Washington, D.C. surrounding impeachment talk, the government’s role in an individual’s health care system, and the continued fight to address the immigration crisis at the Southern Border, there is one thing lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are praising- the signing of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement.
As a cattle rancher and wheat farmer by trade, I know just how important this announcement is for Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers. Our state’s producers rise day-in-and-day-out tilling the land producing goods that feed and clothe families across the globe.
Under the newly signed agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on $7.2 billion agricultural goods shipped from the shores of the United States. A huge win for America’s farmers, Japan is our third largest agricultural export market and accounted for $14.1 billion in agricultural exports in 2018.
For Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers, the news couldn’t come at a better time. Committed to providing substantial market access, Japan will decrease $2.9 billion worth of beef and pork tariffs and will provide preferential access to nine products- including wheat and grain sorghum. For Oklahomans, who have a long history of serving as global producers, this announcement is a promise of an equal playing field. And as Japan’s appetite continues to grow, our ranchers and farmers- who recently boasted $4.2 billion worth of cattle and pork products and $3.6 million worth of wheat- will continue to reap the benefits of the agreement.
As lawmakers, agriculture groups, and producers across the state celebrate this positive step for agriculture and rural America, we must not forget the importance of gaining further market access in other global markets. Our state’s farms and ranches produce some of the highest-quality products in the nation and ensuring the best market value for those products will only ensure our state’s family farms will continue to operate for generations to come.