NMPF Co-op Member Farmer Briefs Congress on Farm Bill Trade Priorities

Brad Vold, a Glenwood, MN farmer and a member of the Land O’Lakes cooperative, testified to the value of rules-based trade at a July 10 House Ways and Means Committee field hearing in Kimball, MN.

Vold, co-owner of Dorrich Dairy, spoke on the need for the United States to negotiate new comprehensive free trade agreements, enforce existing trade deals and address nontariff barriers to exports. Vold pointed to the importance of reducing tariffs and enforcing clear and consistent rules for trade, as well as the U.S. government’s responsibility to combat the European Union’s monopolization of common food names. NMPF’s trade policy team collaborated with Land O’Lakes and helped Vold prepare testimony and briefed congressional offices on U.S. dairy trade priorities prior to the briefing.

NMPF also participated in a July 11 briefing with congressional staff at the U.S. Capitol on the importance of USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) funding to promote U.S. dairy exports. NMPF Trade Policy Manager Tony Rice explained how USDEC uses the funds to build relationships in overseas markets and promote U.S. dairy products to foreign customers. Rice emphasized that despite the proven success of the MAP and FMD investments in growing international market share, the programs have not had an increase in nearly two decades and are routinely oversubscribed.

NMPF and USDEC are working to advance bipartisan legislation to double MAP and FMD funding in the upcoming farm bill. The Expanding Agricultural Exports Act is led by Senators Joni Ernst, R-IA, Tina Smith, D-MN, Susan Collins, R-ME, and Chuck Grassley, R-IA, and the Agriculture Export Promotion Act is led by Representatives Jim Costa, D-CA, Tracey Mann, R-KS, Kim Schrier, D-WA, Ashley Hinson, R-IA, Jimmy Panetta, D-CA, Brad Finstad, R-MN, and Chellie Pingree, D-ME.