U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made a stop in the San Joaquin Valley to highlight the benefits of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and urged the agricultural industry to encourage their representatives to ratify the agreement. Hundreds gathered at Doug and Julie Freitas & Sons Farms on Highway 41 just north of Lemoore to hear how the trade agreement is going to benefit farmers and ranchers.
“Make no mistake about it, you all are going to be the difference. The voice of American farmers needs to be heard as Congress takes up and considers this legislation,” Vice President Pence said to the crowd of about 800. “Members of Congress in both political parties all across California need to hear from you. There is no force in America more powerful than the concerted voice of the American people. So, California farmers, let your voice be heard.”
Several guest speakers discussed the impact that the replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would have on their operations. One of the speakers to spotlight the potential for the new trade agreement was U.S. Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney. “Let me take all of you back to what I heard when the President decided he wanted to rethink NAFTA. We heard the words ‘do no harm,’” McKinney noted. “Let me tell you, we did better than ‘do no harm.’ We have corrected some things that should benefit some of you in this audience and certainly your neighbors.”
Vice President Pence spoke to the hardline stance President Donald Trump took during the negotiation process, assuring the needs of American farmers and ranchers were met. He also noted the importance of pushing legislators to ratify the agreement. “Just tell them how important it is to you, and to your community, and to your farms, and to your ranches,” said Vice President Pence. “We need the USMCA for the San Joaquin Valley, we need it for California, we need it for America. So, go out there and tell the story. Tell people how this agreement is going to put American farmers and American workers first. And make no mistake about it, your voice will make a difference.”