Helping American Farmers Compete

State Legislatures, October 1999 | Go to article overview

Helping American Farmers Compete


In today's global economy, North Dakota farmers aren't just competing with growers from Montana, Minnesota and South Dakota - they also compete with the Canadian producers who have fewer restrictions and buy cheaper pesticides yet sell to the same market.

Recently at a "listening session" sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, a farmer who lived just 80 miles from the border testified that he spends $21.60 an acre for chemicals while a producer on a farm of the same size over the Canadian border spends only $11.50 an acre.

Those kinds of production costs leave American farmers at a disadvantage when prices and profits are tallied.

Pesticides cost less in Canada, but American farmers cannot buy the cheaper chemicals for use on U.S. crops because the substances must be EPA registered and labeled. Yet crops treated with the same chemicals can be exported from Canada for sale in the United States.

In response to this issue, North Dakota Representative Mike Brandenburg introduced a bill to resolve the inequities between U. …

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