Farmers: USMCA should not be partisan issue - FOX34 Lubbock

Farmers: USMCA should not be partisan issue

LUBBOCK, Texas -


There is no doubt NAFTA worked for cotton producers in West Texas. In fact, it grew the industry by billions.

Farmers said that relationship with our neighbors down south is crucial.

"Back when I first started farming, a lot of our cotton was used within the United States, but now we depend on foreign markets," Lloyd Arthur, cotton and wheat farmer from Ralls, said.

Arthur has been growing cotton and wheat for nearly four decades. He said Mexico is cotton's fifth largest trading partner, which is why he and other producers are pushing Congress to pass the USMCA.

"Nowadays, just a little hiccup in any market activity can last longer, and a long-time effect can be more costly to a producer than short term," Arthur said.

But it is up to Congress to make that happen.

"As most are aware, there's 100 new members in Congress," Cody Bessent, with Plains Cotton Growers, said. "So, them trying to grapple and get their mindset around how this trade agreement would work is one portion, obviously politics ties into a big portion of how things are done."

Bessent spent last week in D.C. lobbying for the agreement, he said.

"We did good rapport and response from members of congress. We did visit with both Republicans and Democratic members in order to move the process forward," Bessent said.

Mexico ratified the vote last week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to set a date for a vote. Democrats said they want stronger enforcement mechanisms for the pact's labor and environmental rules. 

Congressman Arrington said it is time to put politics aside and work with Republicans to pass it.

"Everybody is affected here on the South Plains with agriculture, it's one of our biggest industries here," Arthur said, "and so I think trade is important to have with all of our trading partners." 

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