January 23, 2017

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue To Be Named Ag Secretary

Sonny_Perdue_at_rallyThe long national wait for an Ag Secretary appears to be over.  President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly picked former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to fill the duty under the incoming administration. While the USDA landing team has yet to confirm the nominee, multiple media outlets attributed a senior transition official as saying Trump will nominate Perdue to the post. As Governor of Georgia, the now 70-year-old Republican’s key agricultural issues included water management and making changes to the tax code that were beneficial to farmers. Perdue is a veterinarian-turned-politician who was Georgia’s first Republican governor in more than a century when he was first elected. If transition team officials confirm the nomination Thursday, Perdue will be poised to take the last remaining seat in Trump’s cabinet, and the long search for the next Agriculture Secretary would end just a day before Trump takes office.

The search has included a handful of false reports of when and who Trump would pick, even up until the end of last week. Still, this appears to be more serious, with Perdue’s cousin, David Perdue, is a Republican U.S. Senator from Georgia tweeting Wednesday night he “could not be more proud of his cousin” as being named USDA Secretary.

The American Farm Bureau and the National Pork Producers Council have already come out endorsing Perdue.

We will update this story as  more becomes available.

Share

Now Former US Ag Secretary Vilsack To Lead US Dairy Export Council

TOMVILSACK The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) today announced that former U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will join the organization as president and CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2017. USDEC is a non-profit, independent organization that seeks to enhance the global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients.

“Growing the global market for U.S. dairy products is essential to the future of the dairy industry and America’s dairy farmers. I’ve spent my career in public service as a tireless advocate for farmers and American agriculture and can think of no better way to continue this service than by leading the U.S. Dairy Export Council,” said Vilsack. “I look forward to partnering with the dynamic team at USDEC as well as agriculture, food industry and key stakeholders at home and abroad to advance the council’s mission and strengthen trust in American dairy.”

As president and CEO, Vilsack will provide strategic leadership and oversight of USDEC’s global promotional and research activities, regulatory affairs and trade policy initiatives. This includes working with industry leaders to develop a long-term vision for building sales and consumer trust in U.S. dairy. Together with the USDEC board, he will create strategies to successfully achieve the shared vision. He will serve as the organization’s primary spokesperson and ambassador to a host of global and domestic stakeholders.

“The global dairy market is more competitive today than ever. Ambitious trade agreements, reasonable labeling and product standards, and other issues are vital to the growth of America’s dairy industry,” noted Thomas Gallagher, CEO of Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the umbrella organization that represents the broad interests of U.S. dairy and founded USDEC in 1995. “Secretary Vilsack’s impressive record of leadership and his proven ability to manage complex issues, combined with his breadth and depth of industry knowledge, made him the preeminent choice to take the helm of USDEC. I look forward to working with him.”

USDEC routinely partners with other dairy industry groups such as the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation to address the needs of its members, which include producers, processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. An important component of Vilsack’s role will be working with and through these organizations to achieve results on behalf of the value chain.

“Secretary Vilsack is a proven leader on global issues ranging from child nutrition and food security to biotechnology and sustainable agriculture. He shares the dairy community’s commitment to advancing responsible solutions to global challenges and collaboration across the industry,” said Paul Rovey, USDEC Chairman and Arizona dairy farmer.

Vilsack will succeed Tom Suber, who served as president of USDEC since its founding in 1995, and retired at the end of 2016. Under Suber’s leadership, global U.S. dairy exports showed significant growth, rising from the equivalent of roughly 5 percent of U.S. milk production to a high of 15.5 percent.

“We thank Tom Suber for his tremendous contributions to the growth of U.S. dairy exports and elevating U.S. dairy’s position globally. He leaves an impressive legacy at USDEC,” noted DMI’s Gallagher.

USDEC has more than 100 dairy industry, dairy exporter and affiliated entity members. Its work is supported by staff across the United States and internationally in Mexico, South America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

 

Share

U.S. Grains Council Reacts to Chinese Actions on DDGS

A statement from U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight:

“The announcement Tuesday by China’s Ministry of Commerce that it will subject U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) to anti-dumping and countervailing duties is the latest in a rash of measures taken by the Chinese government to restrict access to that market for U.S. feed grains and related products, specifically corn, distiller’s dried grains (DDGS) and ethanol.

“It came just ten days after action by the Chinese government to dramatically increase tariffs on imported U.S. ethanol from 5 to 30 percent, effectively stopping a growth market for U.S. farmers and ethanol producers. U.S. farmers also continue to wait for China’s approvals of biotech corn events, which last happened in 2014.

“The U.S. Grains Council is deeply disappointed in this series of events that is a severe departure from our industry’s three decades of broad, cooperative work with China’s government and livestock industry and that follows a year of extensive cooperation on the part of the U.S. DDGS and ethanol industry with MOFCOM investigations.usgc_logo-sm-800

“The decisions in the anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigations are not supported by the evidence and raise serious questions regarding the Ministry’s compliance with standard AD/CVD procedures and with China’s international obligations. While painful and damaging to the U.S. DDGS industry, their biggest negative impact will ultimately be on China’s feed and livestock industries, which risk losing access to an important and cost-effective feed ingredient, and on millions of Chinese households that will likely face greater food price inflation and less access to affordable, wholesome pork, poultry and dairy products.

“The decisions to raise tariffs on ethanol and to delay further the approval of helpful plant technology that enhances food safety and environmental protection are short-signed trade barriers that also, ultimately, most hurt the Chinese people, who deserve cleaner air and increased food security through both production and trade.

“This new year marks the 35th anniversary of U.S. Grains Council programs in China. We deeply appreciate the opportunities we have had over this time to partner with a broad cross section of members of local industries and government who are working to make their production more efficient, safer and more environmentally-friendly. The implication of these recent moves is clearly that we are less than welcome in their market, and this will challenge the extent of our engagement with China.

“Protectionist trade restrictions based on false allegations do not benefit either China or the United States and represent a threat to a global trading system that has promoted consumer welfare and jobs around the world while lifting millions of families out of poverty. We look forward to and will continue to work toward the day when U.S.-China trade relations are back on a better and more sensible course that results in benefits for both countries, their farmers and their consumers. Thirty-five years of solid work and cooperation have showed this is possible.”

Share