If the U.S. relies on foreign markets for its food supply, it is a dangerous trend, says Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried. She, like many of her farmers, believe it to be a national security issue. It needs addressing now.
“We cannot afford to let our farmers go out of business and sell their land to development and then force us to rely on foreign markets for our domestic food supply. We saw what happened during the pandemic when all travel was shut down, including imports,” Fried said. “If we have to rely solely on foreign markets, we are at a national security risk. We have got to spend a considerable amount of effort, energy, money to rectify the situation before the American farmer goes overseas. And we’re relying on foreign markets like we have had to do for so much of our other types of manufacturing jobs which would be heartbreaking for America. The soul of our country was built on American farmers.”
Fried continues to fight for her state’s vegetable and specialty crop farmers that have been decimated by rising imports in recent years. She testified at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) hearing on cucumbers and squash. She implored for change and help for a domestic industry overtaken by cheap imports and constant dumping.
But it’s also not relegated to one specific commodity. Blueberry leaders were disheartened in February at the USITC’s (5-0) ruling that imports have not had serious injury to the blueberry market. Other commodity groups like tomatoes, strawberries and bell peppers have forever been changed by countries like Mexico, Peru and Chile.
“I am severely disappointed in what happened with blueberries and certainly hope that the ITC hears us on our last round. It’s not just blueberries and it’s not just some of the specialty crops. It’s all of our crops here in the south that have been drastically hindered because of the importing from countries, particularly Mexico,” Fried said.