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Trade Advocates Turn Up Volume on Supply Chain Challenges

February 2, 2022

Export supply chain challenges persisted as 2022 began, as did NMPF’s work, together with the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), to spotlight the disruptions faced by dairy exporters to build momentum for government action.

NMPF’s focus on the issue in January continued its two-track approach of pushing for both legislative reform and near-term steps by the administration to complement that.

NMPF co-hosted an Agri-Pulse press event with USDEC on Jan. 31 to assess and discuss solutions to agricultural export supply chain snarls. The hybrid event, held at the National Press Club, featured a panel of industry speakers impacted by the agricultural export supply chain concerns, including USDEC member Leprino Foods, and a government panel of USDA Secretary Vilsack; John Porcari, the Biden Administration’s Supply Chain Ports Envoy; and Ocean Shipping Reform Act lead sponsors Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD).

“We hope to be able to make sure that people understand this isn’t just an import issue, it’s also an export issue,” Vilsack said at the event.  “And the Department of Agriculture wants to be part of the solution.”

The event, which had more than 1,200 RVSPs from industry professionals, advocates and media outlets, provided the opportunity to refocus attention on how supply chain challenges are affecting exports. NMPF conducted outreach to multiple news outlets to foster robust coverage of those aspects nationwide, gaining attention from Bloomberg News and the Hagstrom Report to the Bakersfield Californian.

The webinar followed a Jan. 27 CEO roundtable discussion hosted by Sec. Vilsack that included two NMPF members – Dairy Farmers of America and California Dairies Inc. –to examine what other steps the Administration could take to mitigate the export supply chain snarls still plaguing dairy and other agricultural exporters.

The events took place as NMPF worked to build support in the Senate for companion legislation to the House of Representatives-passed Ocean Shipping Reform Act. The Senate bill planned for introduction early this month by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) reflects many of the key provisions NMPF worked to secure in the House bill. To build on that positive starting point, NMPF is urging some targeted improvements as the legislation proceeds through the Congressional process.

NMPF also built support for a robust bipartisan message to President Biden urging him to take several near-term steps allowed under current law to provide further relief to agricultural exporters. The House letter, led by Reps. Jim Costa (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD), garnered 71 signatures. NMPF worked closely with Congressional offices to help craft the letter’s messages.