AFBF Advocates for Port Expansion Projects
SEATTLE, Wash., Sept. 24, 2013 – Expanded capacity and access to markets on the West Coast is critical for U.S. agricultural products, which is why the American Farm Bureau Federation joined with the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports this week to show support for three proposed multi-commodity export terminal projects in the Pacific Northwest.
Located in Cherry Point and Longview, Wash., and Boardman, Ore., the three proposed port expansion projects under consideration in the Pacific Northwest are expected to bring thousands of jobs while strengthening the region’s trade infrastructure, benefitting coal, agriculture and other producers.
“Agriculture is very trade dependent. Last year alone, more than $141 billion worth of U.S. agriculture products were exported around the globe,” said Steve Baccus, president of Kansas Farm Bureau and chair of the American Farm Bureau Federation Trade Advisory Committee. “The Pacific Northwest is a crucial gateway for agricultural exports, and these export facilities will help our members meet the increased demand for their goods in burgeoning Asian markets.”
Trade is responsible for 40 percent of all jobs in Washington which is the most trade-dependent state in the United States. Agriculture products are Washington’s third-largest export. In Oregon, one in five jobs is dependent on international trade with agricultural products and services accounting for 10 percent of Oregon’s gross domestic product.
“We are glad to have the American Farm Bureau Federation as an important voice of support for these projects,” said, Lauri Hennessey, Spokeswoman for the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports. “The American Farm Bureau Federation joins many of our local and state-wide Farm Bureaus in supporting these projects which will lead to the expansion of trade for all kinds of exports including wheat, grain, soybeans and corn.”
Exports from these projects will travel by freight trains, the most fuel efficient means of ground transportation. In Washington alone, there are more than 3,200 miles of track that move goods to, through and from the state, including coal, timber, agriculture products and consumer goods. The increased investment associated with coal and agricultural exports will keep the trade doors open for decades to come by strengthening the rail presence in U.S. port cities, according to the Washington Research Council.
AFBF's Trade Advisory Committee is currently touring the Pacific Northwest looking at ports and waterways infrastructure. Members visited the Port of Vancouver earlier this week, and after Seattle are headed to Portland and Oakland. The group of farm leaders is urging Congress to pass the Waterways Resources Reform and Development Act to bring U.S. ports up to par with that of the Port of Vancouver and other international ports.