With the president’s signing of historic trade legislation, farmers can look forward to a substantial increase in agriculture exports. That’s how Steve Kouplen, Oklahoma Farm Bureau president, views the historic legislation.
"Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are heavily dependent on export sales," Kouplen said."Over half of our production is exported. Sales have sagged in recent years and so has farm income."
The legislation gives President Bush the authority to negotiate trade agreements that Congress can approve or reject but cannot change. The U.S. House and Senate recently passed the bill with President Bush quickly adding his signature to sign the bill into law.
"Congress has give the President the ability to help agriculture, so we expect to soon see more favorable trade packages," Kouplen said.
The Beggs, OK rancher praised Congress and the president for taking a bold stand in the face of criticism from opponents worried about protecting American jobs.
"TPA will strengthen agriculture, a multi-billion industry that provides more than 22 million jobs nationwide," Kouplen said.
At the same time, the OKFB president made it clear TPA provides long-term stability, but now Congress must provide short-term assistance to help farmers struggling with drought this year.
"We support disaster-aid legislation that will help farmers plant a wheat crop this fall and give them the opportunity to take advantage of increased exports," Kouplen said.