NCGAs Brooke Appleton Says Producer Anxiety High as Weather, Trade, Policy Issues Deflate SpiritsThu, 16 May 2019 12:09:50 CDT
Trade continues to dominate conversations in the ag community weighing heavily on the minds of producers and industry stakeholders alike. With a tremendous amount of uncertainty stemming from multiple fronts, National Association of Corn Growers Vice President of Public Policy Brooke Appleton told Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays in a recent interview that while spirits remain hopeful for the future, producer sentiment is waning in the face of seemingly endless struggles. You can listen to Appleton’s complete interview recorded during the Washington Watch event hosted by the National Association of Farm Broadcasters this week in DC, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“Our No. 1 legislative priority right now is no doubt getting USMCA across the finish line and that has been our message since the first of the year,” Appleton said. “We knew the landscape was going to be a little different - there was about a hundred freshmen elected late last year. So, we’ve just been trying to get through to folks, educating members on why it’s important. Particularly to corn, but for agriculture as a whole.”
Despite the challenges that come with a divided Congress, Appleton says NCGA remains optimistic that action will eventually be made on the USMCA, hopefully soon. She insists members of both the House and Senate are making concerted efforts to work with the White House to resolve differences and form and agreement that can ultimately win the approval of Congress. Having conducted over 100 meetings thus far with policymakers on the deal, Appleton says overall the reception has been positive.
Beyond the USMCA, other deals yet to be concluded like the US-China negotiations, are also considered priority among NCGA’s membership who are feeling the pressures of so many trade disputes and outside factors that have arrived all at the same time.
“We’re calling this kind of the perfect storm of issues. We’ve got a lot of trade uncertainty, a lot of uncertainty in our ethanol markets and some of the things the Administration is doing - especially with the small refinery waivers. We’re seeing the weather events across the country…,” she said. “It’s just a lot of uncertainty right now and China just compounds that uncertainty. We’re hopeful a deal can be struck soon and we can move passed this and get things moving again. Our growers just need markets.”
The most immediate concern right now though, is simply getting this year’s crop in the ground. With a seemingly endless forecast of storms raging across the Corn Belt, Appleton says producers ready to plant are left staring at wet fields with little recourse until drier conditions arrive.
“The weather just keeps coming,” she remarked. “We’re hopeful but we know they’re getting anxious and we’re anxious for them.”
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