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Sen. Roberts Supports NAFTA Upgrades But Not Termination Of Trade Pact

Deborah Shaar
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts at a Rotary Club of Wichita meeting earlier this week.

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas wants to see the North American Free Trade Agreement improved, but not terminated.

Roberts says he supports modernizing and fixing NAFTA, but he doesn’t want to do away with the trade pact.

Agricultural products are among the state’s top ten export commodities, and Canada and Mexico are consistently the top two export markets for Kansas.

Roberts is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. He says he spoke to President Donald Trump about NAFTA recently.

"I had about a 45-minute audience with the president," Roberts says. "We talked about trade, we talked about crop insurance. He then removed the cut in crop insurance in his budget, which was a good thing, and he gets it with regards to trade."

Crop insurance provides a safety net for farmers.

Roberts commented on the trade pact negotiations during a stop in Wichita earlier this week.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture says agriculture is the largest economic driver in the state. Valued at nearly $67.5 billion, it accounts for 44.5 percent of the state's total economy.

Farmland accounts for 88.1 percent of all Kansas land. More than 21 million acres in Kansas are harvested for crops, and more than 16 million are pastureland for grazing animals.

The agriculture sector in Kansas employs more than 246,877 people through direct, indirect and induced-effect careers, or 13 percent of the entire workforce in the state.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

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