National Sorghum Producer Chairman Dan Atkisson Retains Confidence in Policy Leaders MotivationMon, 12 Nov 2018 12:09:01 CST
During the 2018 National Association of Farm Broadcasters Convention in Kansas City held the first week of November, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn had the chance to catch up with Dan Atkisson, the newly appointed chairman of the National Sorghum Producers. Atkisson farms grain and forage sorghum, wheat and registered black angus cattle on his operation near Stockton, Kansas. As the chairman of the NSP, which serves as the voice of the sorghum industry through legislative and regulatory issues, Atkisson touched on a few of the topics sorghum producers are facing right now in the industry and how NSP is working to advocate on their behalf. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
According to Atkisson, like many of their counterparts in the grain industry, sorghum producers, too, are dealing with economic strife in the marketplace stemming primarily from the upheaval caused by the ongoing trade war between the US and China.
“We’re in the same boat as the other commodities. We’re at the 25 percent tariff going into China. We do still have a very small amount of sorghum that is moving into China, with that tariff,” Atkisson clarified. “However, our large volume trade we experienced in 2016-17 has gone away.”
As one door closes though, another opens, says Atkisson referring to the Trump Administration’s aggressive trade policy that has forged new trade relationships and opportunities with other markets around the world since China shut its doors to US goods. He insists US sorghum producers are making the best of a bad situation as the Administration works to resolve the issue of China and its unfair practices.
“Yeah, we’ve exported to many different countries over the last four years,” he said. “When China went out of the market, we exported into new countries such as Saudi Arabia and also shipped some sorghum to Spain. They are in a very drought affected area and they are looking for bushels of non-GMO grain and sorghum fits the bill.”
Atkisson assures that NSP is working closely with the Administration on making sure sorghum producers are being properly considered during these uncertain times as the White House continues its attempt to exert its will on China. He says the Administration is doing exactly what it said it would do and he that he supports the tough stance President Trump is taking on trade. He says ultimately, farmers will benefit from the President’s resolve to fix the issues that exist.
In addition to trade policy, though, Atkisson says NSP is also collaborating with other lawmakers to ensure the success of the next Farm Bill. He says regardless of which side of the aisle you find yourself on, there is something to both “smile and frown about.” The results of the midterm elections has served as encouragement in his mind to see that the 2018 Farm Bill is pushed to the finish line before the year’s end during the Lame Duck session. If that scenario fails to be realized, though, Atkisson says that despite the differences of opinions of party leaders, NSP and others in the ag community all enjoy an amicable working relationship with all four principle negotiators important to the Farm Bill discussion. He is encouraged, though, based on the recent comments of the likely incoming Chair of the House Ag Committee Collin Peterson.
“He has frequently said he does not want this on his desk when he takes over at the first of the year,” Atkisson said. “So, I’m confident the four principles can make a big push and get a Farm Bill before the end of the year.”
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