AgTalks: Taking the Town Hall Digital

October 13, 2020

AgTalks: Taking the Town Hall Digital

Oct 13, 2020

Key Issues:Trade

Author: Liz Friedlander

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) joined other agriculture leaders this summer in hosting a series of Farmers for Free Trade town hall discussions focused on the future of agriculture.


The AgTalks town hall series focused specifically on the big challenges American agriculture faces on trade, international supply chain resilience and global competitiveness. With the cancellation of many state fairs and agriculture conventions where farm and agriculture leaders typically engage in dialogues on industry-wide challenges, AgTalks served as a platform for insightful discussion on trade and its importance to the health of rural economies.


“Farmers and Agribusiness leaders from across the country are leading the way in defining the future for their industry and communities. Expanded trade is key to revitalizing Rural America and it is incumbent upon our local leaders to play a critical role in shaping future policies that will not only open markets but also ensure America’s farmers are the most reliable and competitive producers,” said Farmers for Free Trade.


NCGA leaders joined town hall events in Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan, where they focused on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, growing new international markets, and increasing ethanol exports.


NCGA Chairman Kevin Ross participated in the first AgTalks virtual town hall, in Iowa, to discuss the challenges 2020 has presented for U.S. corn farmers and share NCGA’s recovery plans to help growers navigate immediate challenges in the short term and expand market access in the long term.


“We’re thankful to have USMCA in force and Phase One deals with Japan and China,” Ross said. “But we have lost ground to our competitors, and it’s time to pivot to more aggressive expansion in our trade. NCGA will continue to push for trade agreements in Southeast Asia and other regions with strong demand potential.”


National Corn Board Director and Minnesota farmer Harold Wolle served as a panelist during the AgTalks virtual town hall held in conjunction with Minnesota IDEA FarmFest after the event was held virtually, due to COVID-19.


“In terms of global competitiveness, the expansion of ethanol exports is an opportunity to really move the demand needle for our industry. Global customers are increasingly turning to ethanol not only as an affordable source of renewable energy but one that delivers superior environmental and human health benefits over other sources of energy,” Wolle said. “When trade works, the world wins.”


Videos of each of the five AgTalks townhalls are available online.