Speaking with AgriTalk Radio’s Mike Adams last week, Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture and co-chair of Farmers for Romney, outlined the candidate’s positions on trade, estate taxes and other issues of interest to farmers and ranchers. Earlier, we summarized a similar interview with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discussing the Obama Administration’s record and positions on the same issues.

Beginning with trade issues, Northey says a Romney Administration would be more aggressive in pursuing trade agreements. President Obama, he says, has not asked for trade-promotion authority, which he says generally is regarded as essential to enable negotiations toward new agreements.

It is a great thing that we finally got the free-trade agreements (FTA) with South Korea, Columbia and Panama passed, Northey says. He points out that the FTAs initially were negotiated during the Bush Administration and took three years to renegotiate. In some cases, he says, those negotiations resulted in provisions less friendly to U.S. agriculture in defense of manufacturing provisions. The Panama agreement, he notes, is just now coming into enforcement.

Northey points out that U.S. agriculture produces more than domestic consumers can use, making trade critical. He says a Romney Administration would be a tough defender of trade policies and an aggressive negotiator for new trade agreements.