The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today joined Farmers for Free Trade, the National Milk Producers Federation, the Corn Refiners Association, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), the Iowa Soybean Association, Minnesota AgriGrowth, the Plant Based Products Council, KCoe Isom and World Strategies to announce that they would be jointly launching a series of town hall discussions starting this summer focused on the future of agriculture.
The AgTalks series will focus specifically on the big challenges American agriculture faces on trade, international supply chains and global competitiveness. The Town Halls will be led by ag leaders in five states vital to American ag’s role in feeding the world – Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
- Iowa (Moderated by Sara Wyant, President of Agri-Pulse) – July 30th
- Minnesota – August 6th (tentative date)
- Michigan – August 13th (tentative date)
- Pennsylvania – August 27th (tentative date)
- Wisconsin – TBD September 2020
The ag organizations behind AgTalks released the following statement on the Town Hall series:
“American competitiveness in agriculture has been seriously impacted by the surge in non-US trade agreements with key customers, the trade war and the failure of supply chains strained by COVID-19. This has impacted commodity pricing, increased input costs, derailed relationship with trading partners and impacted the broader economy.
“We believe it is past time for a national conversation focused on solutions to help American ag rebound. Turning the tide, will require a comprehensive effort from producers to customers – those that plant, make, deliver and sell American products around the world. The health of rural America and the hope of economic resiliency will only occur if we can create a non-political dialogue that brings the pillars of production, processing and logistics together to help redefine trade policy to best enable the most productive, safe and secure delivery of food.”
In the absence of state ag fairs and conventions, where farm and ag leaders typically engage in dialogues on industry-wide challenges, the AgTalks series will provide a chance for insightful discussion on trade and its importance to the health of rural economies. The town halls will be ninety-minute to two-hour events that will include panel discussions about the impacts of the trade disruptions and recommendations for steps to help American agriculture moving forward.
The Town Halls will also include input and questions from audience members and will gather input through online polling and other web-enabled tools. Town halls will be recorded for viewing after the event has concluded and news media will be invited to participate. If feasible, some of the events may be held in person or with panelists joining in one or two locations from suitable backdrops for the event. The first two Town Hall meeting will focus on Iowa and Minnesota and will be held in July and August. Specific dates will be released soon.
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.