January 12, 2016

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (January 12, 2016) – President Obama’s decision to address climate change tonight during his last State of the Union address will help focus the nation on a critical issue that farmers and ranchers have been dealing with for years, said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson.

“We are greatly appreciative of the Administration’s focus on climate change,” said Johnson. “Their efforts to help mitigate climate change will give family farmers and ranchers a better shot at ensuring global food security. Family farmers and ranchers can employ numerous practices that reduce or sequester carbon when given the correct incentives,” he added.

Johnson also noted that President Obama’s signature trade deal would fail to deliver promised jobs, markets and economic growth for family farmers and ranchers without enforceable rules against currency manipulation.

At least four member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are known currency manipulators. By manipulating their currencies, countries can make their goods less expensive on the world market, easily eliminating U.S. gains from trade deals. The practice has greatly contributed to this nation’s massive $508 billion trade deficit.

“Unfortunately, not everyone plays fair,” said Johnson following tonight’s State of the Union address. “Like many of the trade deals that proceeded it, the TPP fails to provide effective enforcement tools to prevent competitors from manipulating their currencies and thereby bypassing trade rules,” said Johnson.

“Despite the president’s promises, the U.S. will be on the losing side of the trade ledger once again if we don’t tackle currency manipulation.”

Johnson also thanked the president for his efforts to end the embargo with Cuba. “NFU appreciates president’s actions to end 50 years of a failed, self-imposed trade embargo on an island nation of 11 million people just 90 miles from American shores. Now it is time for Congress to step up and end this embargo for good.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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