Senators Loeffler, Perdue Fight to Level Playing Field for Georgia Farmers
Highlight Impact of Seasonal Produce Imports on Southeastern Growers
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) continue to fight for a level playing field for Georgia farmers. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer, the Senators requested a broadening of USTR’s current Section 332 investigation to include the impact of seasonal cucumber and squash imports on Southeastern markets.
“Fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico continue to dramatically impact U.S. markets and threaten the future of domestic farm production of perishable produce,” the Senators wrote. “In the last twelve months, we have seen further growth in imports across several vegetable products…”
“Prices have followed supply, and growers are now reporting tumbling prices across the board for vegetables. Prices are now well below U.S. production costs for several of these commodities and appear to correlate directly with increasing fall shipments from Mexico…These market changes occur quickly and can make or break a grower’s season in a matter of days if import increases and the resulting price decreases coincide with harvest. For this reason, we urge you to consider requesting a Section 332 investigation for cucumbers and squash in order to determine the impact of these seasonal imports on Southeastern markets.”
Read the full letter here.
Loeffler, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry who grew up working on her family’s corn and soybean farm, has taken action to assist farmers, cattlemen, producers and the agriculture community:
- Urged USTR Lighthizer to remove barriers for pecan exports to India;
- Announced $5.7 million in grants for rural communities and a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant for the University of Georgia to improve crop protection;
- Commemorated National 4-H Week;
- Helped secure additional flexibility for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to better serve Georgia’s expansive and diverse agriculture industry;
- Sent a letter asking the U.S. Small Business Administration to extend lending authority to qualified USDA approved banks, that often work closely with rural businesses, and to approve new lenders, including nonbank lenders, to give small businesses more options to access loans;
- Joined 27 Senators in sending a letter to President Trump urging him to eliminate payment limits for livestock, dairy and specialty crop producers in the CFAP;
- Asked for additional clarity on the Paycheck Protection Program for farmers;
- Successfully urged the Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud to reschedule a USTR field hearing, that was delayed due to COVID-19 that focused on how foreign trade policy, especially the dumping of imported produce into the U.S. market, threatens domestic farmers’ livelihoods;
- Joined letters asking USDA to ensure timely economic relief for cotton farmers, blueberry farmers and cattle producers; and
- Introduced the American Farms, Food Banks and Families Act to create a supply chain administrator at the USDA to help break down barriers and expand domestic market access for American farmers; the American Agriculture First Act to require the federal government to prioritize the purchase of American-grown agriculture commodities from American-owned farms during a national emergency; and the Enforcing Accountability and Transparency in International Trade Act to address China’s continued manipulation of developing country status within the World Trade Organization and to level the playing field for America farmers, ranchers and manufacturers.