(For immediate release)
Senators Push For Resolution to Alfalfa Export Challenges
WASHINGTON (January 20, 2016) – Today the U.S. Forage Export Council (USFEC) praised the release of a letter from Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to act without delay to ensure that American alfalfa exporters retain critical market access for their products and that standards for exports are transparent and consistent.
“We continue to be grateful for the dedication of many Members of Congress to ensure that the American alfalfa export industry continues to be a vibrant and successful driver of jobs and economic growth. Today, four Senators spoke with a strong and clear voice that the increasing challenges facing alfalfa exporters must be addressed quickly and reasonably in our trade negotiations,” said John Szczepanski, director of the USFEC.
“U.S. alfalfa farmers and exporters grow and ship the highest quality alfalfa in the world, which is critical in maximizing dairy production, especially in China. As China’s growing middle class demands more fresh milk, China needs the very best feed for its cattle in order to provide it. USFEC has been providing this feed for several years and looks forward to many more years of growing production.”
“USFEC is grateful to Senators Wyden, Merkley, Murray, and Cantwell, who have chosen to stand up for their constituents and exporters in their states. They are to be commended for their forward-looking commitment to this growing industry in their states. They, along with the 17 Members of the House of Representatives who wrote to the Obama Administration in September 2015, have shown great leadership and vision, and we look forward to working with them and the Administration to ensure that these challenges are quickly addressed in a manner that benefits everyone from the producers to the shippers to the consumers.”
The U.S. Forage Export Council (USFEC) is a subcommittee of the National Hay Association, established in 1895. USFEC membership is comprised of thirty-three US-based exporters; representing over $1 billion in forage exports sourced from communities in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. Each year, about 250,000 TEU’s (twenty-foot equivalent units) are shipped from West Coast ports, bound for customers around the world.