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This One’s for You (Farmers), Ag Summit Leader Says

Heavy hitters to talk trade, farm bill at Iowa event.

The goal of the Iowa Ag Summit being held in Des Moines on Saturday is to raise the issues that are critical to agriculture in Iowa and the U.S.

These are issues that have impact around the world.

Farmers should know that this meeting of the minds of U.S. policy makers, global agricultural leaders, and agribusiness representatives is being held to recommend solutions to issues facing their farm operations right now.

The events program is set up with speakers and panelists, but farmers are urged to speak up and let their voices be heard too, says Bruce Rastetter, Iowa Ag Summit organizer.

“It’s critical that we hear from the audience, from farmers, from ag business people who export products like farmers do,” Rastetter says. “And, we need to address not just trade issues facing ag commodities but also value-added ag products.”

He adds, “This event is important for farmers, for people from the city concerned with water quality and those from small towns with a manufacturing plant that builds large-scale planters, and for companies that have ag-related sprayers that go around the world. There’s a broad interest in this type of summit.”
 
Issues of trade will be top of mind, the event organizer says.

For example, for the first time in 16 years, U.S. beef is going to China, but at the same time, the U.S. faces tariffs in Japan prohibiting products from an open market in that part of Asia.

“We hope to address huge trade surpluses with countries involved in the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Rastetter says.

Those issues, combined with the upcoming 2018 farm bill that could be written with both houses of Congress under Republican control, the timing of this summit couldn’t come at a more critical time for farmers.

The list of critical issues is long and getting longer, Rastetter says. “We will be discussing the issues and how we are going to solve the problems surrounding safety nets, conservation programs and sustainability, water quality, and the concerns that swirl around renewable fuels,” he says.

Farmers will hear from policy makers and experts in each of these fields.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue will keynote the event on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We have Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, just off a trade mission to China, addressing the summit. We will have two U.S. senators that sit on the Ag Committee. And keep in mind, we will have different points of view on the numerous panels that are set up,” Rastetter says.

These pools of differing thoughts will help create solutions to the problems that the agricultural sector is facing today, he says.

“Whether it’s the leaders of John Deere and Vermeer talking about exporting products around the world, thoughts from the former Canadian Ag Minister, or the impressions of the Secretary of Agriculture from Oklahoma, farmers will hear a different perspective than what is typically talked about on panels,” Rastetter says.

Though its timing is uncertain, the reality is that there will be a new farm bill.

“So, we all need to be at the table helping policy makers think about what they should be addressing in that new piece of legislation. It’s critical that ag influencers impacting the 2018 farm bill have a stage to air their thoughts, well in advance of the construction of the bill,” Rastetter says.

“We hope to hear U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst address the timeliness of the creation of the farm bill,” he continues. “And attendees should hear about their focus, as members of the Senate Ag Committee, and how that fits in with all of the other priorities taking place today in Washington.”

This year’s summit is sponsored by Summit Agricultural Group. Successful Farming is the event’s exclusive media sponsor.

For more information, please visit IowaAgSummit.com. For ticket information, please contact Jill Ryan at 515/282-3000 or jill@cgiowa.com.

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