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We're Better Together — National Association of Wheat Growers President Gordon Stoner was one of a half-dozen farm organization leaders who were part of a panel discussion at the American Sugarbeet Growers Association annual meeting. Stoner said the farm groups all agree on the need to stick together. The Red River Farm Network asked Stoner if he thinks the Farm Bill will be a heavy lift. “There are budget challenges. We have continuing attacks on crop insurance. The groups that are determined to tear the Farm Bill apart, separate it from nutrition; it is an avenue to try and defeat it."
Be an Advocate — Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative board chairman Kyle Peterson says all farmers need to be advocates for their business during the upcoming Farm Bill debate. “The Farm Bill has been important to all of agriculture, not just the sugar industry. Farmers need to be advocates across the board. We need to keep a strong rural America. In that process, keeping the Farm Bill intact is a very important process.”
U.S. - Cuba Trade May Not Happen for Awhile — China, Mexico and Cuba were all topics of discussion at the ASGA annual meeting. Trade attorney and consultant John Gilliland does not expect Cuba to have an impact on sugar trade for some time. “The important thing to keep in mind is the U.S. embargo of Cuba is embedded in a web of statutes," says Gilliland. "Before the U.S. is going to consider opening its market to Cuban imports, a lot of things have to happen. We need a major transformation in our relationship with Cuba. Opening up trade would involve acts of Congress to repeal the statutes that make up the embargo and it would require making decisions about how the U.S. would treat Cuba as a partner under the World Trade Organization. Finally, the U.S. would need to change the way it considers sugar imports and the tariff rate quota.”
Farm Policy Can't be Divorced From Trade Policy — When it comes to sugar, Informa Economics Senior Vice President Jim Weisemeyer says you can’t divorce trade policy from farm policy. That includes the the trade policy between the U.S. and Mexico. “The U.S. sugar industry found some faults with it. Mexico was doing some end-arounds, etc. We still don’t have a settlement on that. That has perplexed me. Has Mexico overplayed their hand? Will NAFTA be modernized or renegotiated? How will sugar policy fit into that? If Mexico loses their launch into the U.S. market, they have a lot to lose themselves.” Weisemeyer also said relations between the U.S. and China will be an important piece of trade policy to watch.
Source: The Red River Farm Network (RRFN.com)