While the educational sessions and programs at Commodity Classic are heavily focused on crop farming and its related industry partners, several organizations from the animal agricultural sector made a presence at the 2016 event, showing the integration that exists among the different sectors of U.S. agriculture. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) was one animal agriculture group with a presence at Commodity Classic, and Joe Schuele, Vice President, Communications, sat down with AgWired’s Jamie Johansen for an interview during the event.
“One reason we are here is a thank you to the corn and soybean industries. The producers really support USMEF at the state and national level, and we really appreciate that, and we’re also here to educate producers about how meat exports improve their bottom line,” said Schuele. “Animal agriculture is the largest customer for those products, and exporting meat helps the profitability and viability of US livestock producers, and that helps everyone’s profitability and helps everyone cope with some difficult agricultural times right now.”
One topic USMEF centered discussion around during the event was their sustained support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also concentrated much of his speech during the 2016 Commodity Classic around his unwavering support of the international free trade agreement (FTA).
“It really isn’t so much about gaining a big advantage on our competitors as it is about keeping up with them,” said Schuele, “Australia already has a FTA with Japan that has lowered the tariffs on beef that it ships over there, the EU is in the final stages of reaching a FTA with Japan that will lower their tariffs, so if we are not participating in TPP and if its not approved, we’re really going to fall behind key competitors in critical markets like Japan and Vietnam.”
Listen to Jamie’s full interview with Joe here:
Interview with Joe Schuele, USMEF