Iowa's agricultural products, like corn, soybeans, pork, ethanol, and byproducts face numerous trade barriers imposed by foreign governments.
WASHINGTON – As foreign governments create trade barriers and make it difficult for Iowa’s exporters to compete in the global marketplace, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is fighting back to protect Iowa farmers.
Ernst is leading a new effort to improve the proactive enforcement of U.S. agreements at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Her Prioritizing Offensive Agricultural Disputes and Enforcement Act would create a joint task force between USTR and USDA, removing bureaucratic barriers that prevent proper communication between the two agencies and limit our country’s ability to prevent and respond to broken trade agreements.
“Iowa’s farm families face unfair trade barriers, like Mexico’s GM corn ban, and they deserve to know that the U.S. government is doing everything it can to enforce our existing trade agreements and safeguard fair markets for their products,” said Senator Ernst. “By bridging the gap between USDA and USTR, we can hold the Biden administration accountable and ensure Washington is actually working together to protect Iowa’s place as a leader in agricultural exports.”
Ernst is dedicated to addressing trade issues that impact Iowans. She led the Expanding Agricultural Exports Act of 2023 to help ensure Iowa farmers have strong commodity markets and export opportunities. Ernst also fought to confirm Alexis Taylor, an Iowan, as Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs and continues to press President Biden on Mexico’s plan to end U.S. genetically modified corn imports.
Iowa is the country’s second-largest agricultural exporting state. In 2020, Iowa generated around $26.2 billion in agricultural cash receipts, with the highest-valued commodities being corn, hogs, and soybeans. That same year, the value of Iowa’s agricultural production and processing industries represented 9.3 percent of total state GDP.