On Wednesday, July 24, farmers, ranchers, producers and growers representing various California food and agriculture products will fly in to Washington, D.C., to advocate to their members of Congress for swift passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) said. IDFA, California Farm Bureau, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and California Dairies Inc. coordinated the day of advocacy.

“California food and ag is coming to Washington to make a strong appeal to our elected representatives for swift passage of the USMCA,” said Jamie Johansson, president, California Farm Bureau Federation. “With our livelihoods at stake due to uncertainty in export markets and an unclear path for USMCA in Congress, it is essential that we appeal directly to each member of the California delegation. We will ask them to share our message with Speaker Pelosi: ‘Please pass USMCA now—our livelihoods depend on it.’”

California is the nation’s largest producer and exporter of food and agricultural products, Washington, D.C.-based IDFA noted. In 2018, California agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico totaled $6.6 billion. Food and agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico supported more than 56,000 jobs in California last year.

More than 77,500 farms produce more than 400 commodities, and about one-quarter of what California produces is exported around the world, IDFA said. Agricultural exports from California are valued at nearly $21 billion.

USCMA will further increase benefits to American farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses by improving market access and customs procedures, establishing modern, science-based sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and enhancing standards for biotechnology and strengthening safeguards for commonly used food names, IDFA said. The International Trade Commission determined that the USMCA would have a positive impact on the U.S. economy and a positive impact on the U.S. agriculture sector. In fact, the USMCA would raise the U.S. gross domestic product by $68.2 billion, pumping an additional $2.2 billion, or 1.1%, into the U.S. economy through increases in agricultural and food exports.

Since NAFTA was implemented, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $39 billion in 2017, IDFA added.