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Agricultural News

Farmers and Ag Trade Experts Discuss Concern Over Competitors Gaining Trade Advantage, Tariffs and Supply Chain Slowdown

Mon, 18 Oct 2021 14:52:15 EDT

Farmers and Ag Trade Experts Discuss Concern Over Competitors Gaining Trade Advantage, Tariffs and Supply Chain Slowdown At the end of this past week, Farmers for Free Trade hosted a virtual roundtable with farmers and workers from throughout the food and ag supply chain to discuss the current trade landscape, supply chain challenges, tariffs and the Biden administration’s trade agenda.
The panelists discussed how the continuation of the previous administration's tariffs is driving up the cost of inputs and equipment, the need for trade deals that provide access to export markets, and concerns that global competitors are pursuing trade deals that put them at an advantage, particularly in Asia.

The full panelist roster from the Farmers for Free Trade event included:

• Howard “AV” Roth, Jr., National Pork Producers Council Past President, fifth-generation farmer who owns and operates Roth Feeder Pig, Inc., Wauzeka, Wisconsin
• Doug Chapin, Chairman of the Board for the Michigan Milk Producers, Operator of Chapin Family Farms, Remus, Michigan
• Deb Gangwish, National Corn Growers Association board member, corn, seed corn and soybeans grower, Shelton, Nebraska
• Dr. Joseph Glauber, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute and former Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.
• Manuel Almira, Executive Director, Port of Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Florida
• Bart Piper, Vice President of Global Strategy, Marquis Energy, Hennepin, Illinois
• Darci Vetter, Moderator, Principal, Sower Strategies, LLC and Senior Advisor, Edelman Global Advisory, Former Chief Ag Negotiator at USTR, Washington, D.C.

You can watch the entire 90 minute presentation by clicking on the play button in the video box below:

Key quotes from participants:

Howard “AV” Roth, Jr. National Pork Producers Council Past President: “It is imperative that the administration focus on expanding markets for US agriculture and pork around the world. The biggest export opportunity for our industry lies in Southeast Asia.”

Doug Chapin, Chairman of the Board for the Michigan Milk Producers: “Exporting dairy products is a success story of American trade policy. Our family dairy operation has been in existence for over a century. So, we've seen the positive impact of exports as US sales around the world have grown in recent years. A big reason why is US leadership from both Republicans and Democrats alike for market access. Free trade agreements have delivered the equivalent of $17 billion for dairy farmers in recent years.”

Fernando Soberanos, Division Manager for Giumarra: “We need to become better global suppliers to ensure that our supply chain continues to supply fresh fruit and keep our people working at the farm, working to farm, to ship, to import, export, wholesale and retail fresh produce throughout the U.S. and our different export markets. It is my belief that by becoming better global suppliers, our domestic industry will benefit from better prices and more jobs.”

Deb Gangwish, National Corn Growers Association board member: “We have to realize that we're 60% of the world's population is living within the Asia Pacific region. We would be absolutely crazy to ignore these consumers.”

Bart Piper, Vice President of Global Strategy, Marquis Energy: “We're really interested in continuing to see trade barriers drop that allow the processing and the exporting of all these corn-based products and really promoting US agricultural abroad.”

Manuel Almira, Executive Director, Port of Palm Beach: “The demand for food supplies comes from two types of consumption, local consumption, and passengers on-board cruise ships that demand to eat the exact food they consume at home. So, in summary, all US ports can be the connection point for either bulk shipments of grain or food shipped in containers of all sizes, dry or refrigerated food items. Ports are ready and willing and able to connect between the grower and the foreign distributor.

Dr. Joseph Glauber: “I have been involved with agriculture for a long time and looking at the export picture, it's really staggering the growth and the importance of exports for so many industries. In particular, meat if you look back to 1990, which for me doesn't seem that long ago, chicken, we exported about 6 percent of the poultry that we produced. We're now doing 16 percent to 17 or 18 percent. Beef it's gone, we were a big net importer of beef in the 80s and 90s, but that all started to change as the markets opened up in Asia in particular, where we went from exporting about 4 percent of the beef we produced, to now over 12 percent. And pork is just staggering. I mean, you're talking about going from less than 2 percent or 4 percent or so of the pork being exported to now over a quarter of pork produced in this country is now exported. So, these markets are really, really important.”

Darci Vetter, Moderator: “I think that the last 18 months have shown a real spotlight for people on the role that workers play in getting those products from the field to dinner plates. I think we live in a country where many of us don't think very hard about how the food gets to our table and with disruptions to the supply chain, from COVID with inability of workers to be able to move or concerns about their safety. I think we have an opportunity to have a bigger discussion and to think about the importance of workers and how essential they really are, to both the quantity and the quality of the food that many of you produce each day.”



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