Contact: Young Choe (406) 993-5259, (347) 885-9226
What: South Korean farmers and activists, here to protest the Korea-US Free Trade talks, will work on a Montana farm and meet with Montana farmers in Belgrade, MT. Sharing work and experiences as small farmers, the two groups will also discuss the impact of agricultural and trade policies on their lives.
The South Korean delegation is here to the protest the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement (KorUS FTA) talks which are in the fifth round of negotiations at the secluded ski resort of Big Sky, Montana. Protesters from Montana, LA and NY have joined the effort, and have been holding rallies and vigils in Big Sky and in Bozeman, MT.
Where: Thirteen Mile Lamb and Wool Company. 13000 Springhill Road. Belgrade, Montana. http://www.lambandwool.com
When: 4pm Wednesday December 6, 2006
Who: Representatives of the Korean Alliance against KorUS FTA (KoA), a coalition of 300 civil society organizations including the Korean Peasants League and the Korean Advanced Farmers' Federation. The delegation includes Jun Sung Do, the Executive Director of the Korean Peasants League, and will be joined by US-based fair trade activists. They will be hosted by Becky Weed and Dave Tyler, family farmers who raise sheep and run a wool mill, and other family farmers from the neighboring area.
Why: The South Korean delegation is here to protest the KorUS FTA negotiations in Big Sky, Montana which covers 86 billion dollars in goods and services and is the biggest free trade agreement since the North American Free Trade Agreement. (NAFTA) Bilateral and multi-lateral free trade agreements, especially ones based on the NAFTA model, have had devastating effects on local economies, including agriculture. Though free trade is touted as beneficial for agriculture as it opens more markets, fluctuating market prices and gradual reduction of price supports leave small farmers vulnerable against competition from big agricultural corporations. In addition to protesting against the KorUS FTA, Koreans want to know firsthand the experience of Montana 's small farmers by working on their farms and sharing experiences.