NFU's Rob Larew Talks International Trade Conflicts and Extreme WeatherTue, 19 Nov 2019 14:48:30 CST
International trade conflict is a hot topic affecting farmers and ranchers in the U.S. We caught up with Rob Larew, Vice President of Public Policy and Communications for the National Farmers Union at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Annual Convention in Kansas City. Larew knows this is an important topic, "It is the big story right now because it is driving one of the biggest problems right now that farmers and ranchers across the country are facing, and that is a lack of certainty, and that lack of certainty and lack of these markets is really affecting the overall piece of this, which is price. Until we get these markets back in a better place, until we can get a handle on the supply o product out there, then we are going to continue to see these low prices and continue to have the problems."
Larew says right now the big push is to bring some certainty. USMCA legislation is a big focus right now, and while Larew doesn't think this will move the market that much, in terms of the agreement itself on agriculture, what he says it will do is add a little bit of certainty which he thinks will be good. Larew believes the bigger question is China. We have heard promises of a little bit of progress, and Larew thinks that these will have long-lasting effects. "The question is, are we going to be in this cycle where we have to rely on ad-hock disaster systems and payments out of the government? That is certainly not what farmers want. We want to get that out of the marketplace. So what do we need to do to make that happen? That's really the focus that we have right now."
This year's extreme weather events and climate change have also been hard on farmers and ranchers. Larew said this is also a challenge, "We need to make sure we have better response to assistance and help, so farmers and ranchers can know what to expect when those conditions happen. What can we be doing, whether its conservation practices, etc., that are now being employed to save some of that moisture so that we can use it when we are in a deficit? These are going to be long term questions."
Extreme weather conditions are inevitable, so what can farmers be doing to mitigate that? Larew says they also think about what they can be doing on the policy side to make it easier for farmers, "We want independent farmers out there. We don't want corporate-owned and everything we can be doing we need to do to mitigate these effects."
KC Sheperd and Rob Larew talk about these issues and more. Listen to the complete interview by clicking on the listen bar below.
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