KFB president promotes global trade

The president of the state’s largest agricultural advocacy organization urged farmers and ranchers last week to “run as fast as our feet, our tractors and our trucks will carry us” toward bold new global opportunities which could dramatically transform how farmers and ranchers earn their living.  

 In a speech to more than 400 farmer/rancher delegates from all 105 counties in the state, Kansas Farm Bureau president Steve Baccus, Minneapolis, described “a perfect storm” forming on the horizon that could fundamentally change the economic landscape for production agriculture.

 ”It’s a storm that contains multiple fronts: public perception, a ballooning federal government debt, shifting populations, increasingly vocal and effective activists who don’t share our view,” Baccus said.

“And the biggest cloud of them all- big old Kansas thunderhead containing not just wind, rain and hail, but something called global trade.”  

 Baccus, a fourth-generation farmer from Ottawa County, raises wheat, grain sorghum, irrigated corn, soybeans and sunflowers on his farm north of Salina.  

 Last month in World Trade Organization discussions, the United States presented a bold and politically difficult proposal on domestic supports to demonstrate to the world that it is serious about achieving a successful and significant outcome in these talks.

 If successful, the U.S. government would, in essence, exchange domestic trade distorting subsidies for meaningful international market access, providing farmers and ranchers the ability to compete as profit-driven, wealth-creating entrepreneurs in a global marketplace.

 These global trade opportunities will also drive, in part, the tone and direction of the next iteration of the relationship between American production agriculture and the federal government.    

 ”In the coming weeks and months, we have an opportunity to re-shape our industry. To grab the entire family farm-and-ranch based American production agriculture industry by the shoulders and point it in a new direction,” Baccus said.

“To pivot from where we are now-inextricably connected at the hip with government-and all the vagaries that come with that, to a world where the business decisions we make are grounded in our experience, our talent, our creativity and our ability.”

 Baccus’ remarks came during the 87th annual meeting of Kansas Farm Bureau in Manhattan, appropriately themed, “Beyond the Farm.”

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