Ag industry holding on to hope for the TPP

Farmers say the TPP will help sell excess grain
Farmers say the TPP will help sell excess grain

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Donald Trump made his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership clear on the campaign trail, but many in the Kansas agriculture industry are pushing for lawmakers to turn the trade deal into reality.

Groups like the National Association of Wheat Growers and the American Soybean Association hope Congress will act quickly and approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“We should pull out the stops,” said Gordon Stoner with the National Association of Wheat Growers. “Try to get it done before the new administration takes place. Get it done in the lame duck session.”

Southwest Kansas farmers say recent record harvests have left them with too much grain, low prices, and not enough customers.

“Unless we see a very sharp increase in some of the exports of grain that we have in the United States,” said John Jenkinson, KSN’s agriculture expert, “possibly with the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we’re going to continue to see a glut of grain in the United States, and elevators and farmers struggling to stay in business.”

While new markets like Vietnam would help struggling farmers, some in the industry don’t believe Congress will even consider the deal.

“It looks like it’s going to be a very difficult challenge to get the TPP considered during the lame duck session,” said Richard Wilkins with the American Soybean Association.

Wilkins says Congress likely won’t want to start off on a bad foot with the new administration, but he hopes he can influence the Trump administration on the issue.

“We do remain hopeful that we can show the new administration the importance of international trade to not just soybeans but the entire agriculture industry,” he said.

KSN reached out to Senator Pat Roberts, the chair of the Senate Ag committee, as well as Senator Jerry Moran and Congressman Tim Huelskamp, but none were available to comment.

Huelskamp has said he is being considered for the Secretary of Agriculture position. Moran this weekend said he has not been offered the position.