By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau Communication Director: Commissioned by American Farm Bureau, a new poll from Morning Consult shows most voters favor fair trade – something all candidates should keep in mind as a congressional vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement comes closer to reality.

Several agriculture commodities would benefit from TPP, the beef industry would be one of them. 

“Most Americans support free trade,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “and most farmers do, too. Exports account for almost a quarter of American farm receipts, so opposing fair trade agreements like TPP doesn’t make a lot of sense to rural America.”

“Global trade is an intricate system of give and take,” said Arizona Farm Bureau First Vice President and southern Arizona rancher Stefanie Smallhouse. “Arizona agricultural products are distributed all over the globe and in order for growers to be sustainable we need to have access to local and global markets. This particular trade agreement will increase demand for several Arizona products including dairy and beef in the growing markets of the Pacific and will greatly decrease tariffs which currently place our products at a disadvantage.”  

Among other things, the August poll found:

  • Fifty-seven percent of registered voters have a favorable view of “fair trade.”
  • Fifty percent said they would be more likely to support TPP if they knew it would provide new markets overseas for U.S. farm products.
  • After Americans were told TPP would increase net farm income by $4.4 billion and agricultural exports by $5.3 billion, 52 percent said they would be more likely to support TPP. More than half (51 percent) say an estimated increase of 40,100 jobs resulting from the agreement would make them more likely to support TPP.
  • Fifty-two percent of voters say they would be more likely to support TPP if they knew the deal would increase annual income in the U.S. by $131 billion.
  • Sixty-nine percent of voters support trade policies that will open new markets for U.S. products and U.S. farmers while less than one in 10 (8 percent) oppose.

“Most trade deals start out with loud opposition, only to fade away once the details become known,” Duvall said. “We are convinced TPP is no different: The more people know, the more they will support this vitally important agreement.”

Smallhouse added, “As incomes and quality of life rise around the globe, the demand for more healthful and diverse products such that Arizona provides will increase. We are the ‘Nutrition State.’” 

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