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Motorcade for Trade stops at Farmfest to stump for USMCA

Members of the group Farmers for Free Trade made their latest stop in their Motorcade for Trade tour at Farmfest on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019. Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service

MORGAN, Minn. — A group advocating to pass a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement made a stop this week at Farmfest.

Members of the group Farmers for Free Trade made the latest stop in their Motorcade for Trade tour on Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the farming and agricultural industry trade fair.

The 12-foot RV wrapped in photos of farmers and messages about passing the USMCA, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, made its way to the state after traversing more than 17,000 miles and stopping in 20 other states.

Angela Hoffman, co-executive director of Farmers for Free Trade, said the drive and the national campaign were aimed at raising awareness about the USMCA and urging members of Congress to ratify it.

"This is a cross-country journey. We're particularly focusing on the passage of the USMCA and we're hosting roundtables with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, all the commodity groups as well as industry groups," Hoffman said. "A lot of the other industries tend to get more attention, but we really need to stress that agriculture is a net beneficiary of trade and these are our top trading partners."

While the agreement seemed to have strong support among farmers and ag industry leaders at Farmfest, some expressed a desire to go back to the table to rewrite pieces of the deal.

Rob Larew, senior vice president of the National Farmers Union, on Tuesday, raised concerns about components of the agreement affecting prescription drug prices and said there was still work to be done to create a product the union could support.

Farmers for Free Trade is set to be in attendance as the bulk of Minnesota's congressional delegation makes a stop by the trade fair on Wednesday, Aug. 7, for a U.S. House Agriculture Committee listening session. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is set to attend too.

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