Congressman Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, has invited local farmers and growers to take part in an agriculture and trade field hearing Thursday in Burlington with agriculture industry experts and federal administration officials.

Steil said this is an opportunity for members of the community to both hear from federal officials and industry insiders and also to share their thoughts on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“Good and fair trade deals are vital to Wisconsin,” Steil said. “We must ensure USMCA works for our state and expands trade opportunities for Wisconsin-grown products.”

The hearing is set for 2 p.m. Thursday at the Burlington Police Department Courtroom, 224 E. Jefferson St.

Attendees have the opportunity to submit written comments.

The event is open to the public, but space is limited to the first 60 attendees.

“This field hearing provides southeast Wisconsin the opportunity to share their opinion with me,” Steil said.

President Donald Trump said the USMCA “solves the many deficiencies and mistakes in NAFTA, greatly opens markets to our farmers and manufacturers, reduces trade barriers to the U.S. and will bring all three great nations together in competition with the rest of the world.”

The International Trade Commission, an independent federal agency, released a study last week stating that the USMCA would boost the U.S. economy by $68.2 billion and add 176,000 jobs.

But it called it a “modest impact” in terms of the overall economy as it would replace the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, which had already removed many trade barriers.

Congress has yet to approve the agreement, the full text of which is available at https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements.

Also attending Thursday’s event will be Joseph Knilans, an advocate from the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy; Sandy Chalmers, state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wisconsin Farm Service Agency; and Frank Frassetto, state director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

“I want to hear directly from experts in Wisconsin’s agriculture industry,” Steil said.

Those interested in attending can call Steil’s Janesville office at 608-752-4050 for more information.

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