Contact: Justin Darisse, 202-879-0816
Washington, D.C. (October 3, 2011)—The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) today applauded the action taken today by President Obama to send the pending free trade agreements (FTA) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress. NCFC also urged Congress to take up and approve the three FTAs without further delay.
“All three of these FTAs will give U.S. farmers, ranchers, and their co-ops greater access to key export markets for both commodities and value-added products. With over 95% of consumers living outside of the U.S., these agreements are an important step in expanding trade opportunities for American agriculture,” said Chuck Conner, president & CEO of NCFC.
“It is imperative that the process, which has taken over four years to reach this point, move forward quickly and without further delay,” he continued. “While these agreements have been held up by the political process here in the U.S., our competitors have been actively negotiating and implementing FTAs of their own with these three countries. Every day that we postpone passage and implementation of these agreements increases the risk that America’s farmers and agricultural co-ops will lose market share in these countries to producers in other nations.”
Since 1929, NCFC has been the voice of America’s farmer cooperatives. Our members are regional and national farmer cooperatives, which are in turn composed of nearly 3,000 local farmer cooperatives across the country. NCFC members also include 26 state and regional councils of cooperatives. Farmer cooperatives allow individual farmers the ability to own and lead organizations that are essential for continued competitiveness in both the domestic and international markets.
America’s farmer-owned cooperatives provide a comprehensive array of services for their members. These diverse organizations handle, process and market virtually every type of agricultural commodity. They also provide farmers with access to infrastructure necessary to manufacture, distribute and sell a variety of farm inputs. Additionally, they provide credit and related financial services, including export financing.