Company Press Release / SOURCE: National Corn Growers Association
WASHINGTON, May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- "As a farmer, it's hard for me to imagine how Congress can say no to permanent normal trade relations for China," National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Lynn Jensen told members of the House Agriculture Committee this week. "Quite simply, this is a great one-way deal for U.S. agriculture. If Congress votes yes and China enters the World Trade Organization, we gain access to the largest market in the world - and we give up nothing in return."
Jensen, who farms near Lake Preston, S.D., was among hundreds of farmers who left the field in the middle of planting season to come to Washington this week and lobby Congress for a "yes" vote on permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) for China.
In addition to testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jensen joined other NCGA grower leaders making the rounds on Capitol Hill to shore up farm-state legislators' support for the China trade bill. They presented members of Congress with Chinese take-out food containers that each held 14 kernels of corn.
"In the first year of its membership in the WTO, China has agreed to allow access for 4.5 million metric tons of corn. That's 177 million bushels, or roughly 14 trillion kernels - a TRILLION times more corn than the 14 kernels in the boxes that we presented to our representatives," Jensen explained.
While Jensen and other farm group leaders are meeting with members of Congress, NCGA and members of the agriculture community are also working to generate grassroots support for China trade among their friends and neighbors back home. The Agriculture Coalition for U.S.-China Trade, which includes about 85 farm- and food-related organizations and businesses, is teaming up with The Business Roundtable to run radio advertisements urging farmers to call Congress in support of PNTR. The ads are airing this week and next in more than 25 states.
"Does the United States want to seize the opportunity to increase our farm exports by $2 billion annually? Or do we want to sit on the sidelines while other countries step in and reap the benefits of the soon-to-be open Chinese market?" Jensen asked. "This is a vote, and an opportunity, that farmers can't afford to lose."
The National Corn Growers Association mission is to create and increase opportunities for corn growers in a changing world and to enhance corn's profitability and usage. NCGA represents more than 30,000 members, 24 affiliated state corn grower organizations and hundreds of thousands of growers who contribute to state checkoff programs.: