National Editor Tom Karst You have heard the expression, "save my bacon."
The new web site for advocating for preservation of the U.S. tomato agreement with Mexico is, no kidding, www.savemytomato.com.
The web site opens up with a series of appealing photos, alternating between mom and family creating a salad, an attractive woman buying tomatoes at a retail store and a smiling produce clerk. The web page has a tag line "support free trade." and messages like "Don't let special interest groups take a bite out of your pocket."
The opening web page links to an ad that will run in several publications, featuring a blue-eyed six-year old girl with a "Dear President Obama" letter in the background.
Will this slick web site and effective messaging save the bacon of the fresh tomato industry in Mexico? It won't hurt, I'd say.
Meanwhile, here are some excerpts from the FPAA press release announcing the "savemytomato" web site:
An influential group of businesses, agricultural and food industry organizations warn that special interest efforts to abolish a 16-year U.S. tomato agreement with Mexico could lead to a trade war costing the American economy billions of dollars in exports and tens of thousands of jobs.
A growing number of industry leaders, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Restaurant Association, Wal-Mart and nearly a dozen meat, dairy and poultry producers’ organizations, is asking the Obama Administration to continue the long-standing agreement with one of America’s largest trading partners.
“Termination of the tomatoes agreement will benefit no one and will lead only to uncertainty and unpredictability in the market,” Wal-Mart officials wrote to the Commerce Department.
The National Restaurant Association, the leading business organization for the restaurant and food service industry, wrote, “Unpredictable, and possibly higher tomato prices could negatively impact industry operations.” The U.S. food and restaurant industry accounts for more than one-third of all the tomatoes consumed in America, according to the trade group.
Agricultural groups representing meat, dairy and poultry producers say they are concerned about impact of a trade war on jobs and their industries.
“The $100 billion U.S. produce market is now globally integrated, and up to $7 billion of the industry is comprised of fruits and vegetables from Mexico, affecting tens of thousands of U.S. workers,” Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) wrote in a letter to the Commerce Department. “Ending this agreement will put people out of work, reduce the variety and quality of tomatoes available to consumers and hurt all Americans by raising prices at the supermarket check-out line.”
TK: This is a well-coordinated strike in the public relations battle between Florida and Mexican tomato interests, as it brings in the perspective of other ag groups concerned about trade disruptions with Mexico. I have to wonder if the consumer will seek out and connect with the "savemytomato" message, but this web effort hits all the right simple notes for consumers unfamiliar with the issue.