FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2017) — Kentucky has a voice in a meeting of state and provincial agriculture officials from the United States, Canada, and Mexico this week in Denver. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles sent his chief of staff, Keith Rogers, to represent the interests of Kentucky farmers at the 26th annual Tri-National Agricultural Accord.
“Kentucky agriculture needs international trade, but even more, the world needs Kentucky agriculture,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Kentucky agricultural exports were valued at $1.3 billion in 2016, and Canada and Mexico are two of our leading trade partners. We look forward to continuing those trade relationships with our neighbors to benefit Kentucky farmers.”
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its importance to the agriculture and food sectors is at the top of the agenda for this year’s Tri-National Agricultural Accord. Kentucky’s total exports to Canada and Mexico increased by nearly 600 percent from 1994 (when NAFTA went into effect) to 2014, according to Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Kentucky exports to Canada in 2016 totaled $230.7 million, led by whiskies ($22.5 million) and tomato ketchup/sauces ($22 million). Kentucky exports to Mexico in 2016 came to $57.8 million, led by whiskies ($8.8 million) and wheat ($6.4 million).
Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Don Brown is hosting this year’s Tri-National Agricultural Accord, and Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture Steven Reviczky, president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), is leading the U.S. delegation. Commissioner Quarles recently was elected secretary-treasurer of NASDA.
The Tri-National Agricultural Accord represents a longstanding commitment among the senior state and provincial agricultural officials of Canada, the United States, and Mexico to work together collaboratively on agricultural trade and development issues.
NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.