Producers from around Colorado gathered at the Colorado Farm Bureau office to visit with Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at USDA. Under Secretary  Ibach visited with the group about new USDA programs, as well as provided update on trade issues and the recent $12 billion aid package that was announced last week by the department.

“It’s always good to talk with fellow farmers and ranchers,” said Ibach who has made it a priority to know how decisions in Washington D.C. affect the people in the field. His own farm is located in rural Nebraska where he also served as the Director of Agriculture for the state.

Those seated around the table represented a variety of commodity groups, including; corn, wheat, potatoes, sugar beets and beef. Many of whom, traveled from across the state.

Under Secretary Ibach provided insight into the recent trade negotiations and also solicited feedback and stories from those in the room who have been impacted. The USDA is working to support our farm families during this time of need, no matter what commodity is grown. Farmers from around the state expressed the difficulties they are experiencing with the limited export markets that have occurred in response to the trade war.

For example, potato farmers in particular are experiencing difficulties getting fresh product into Mexico because of limits that have been placed on U.S. product. This issue will be moving through the courts and USDA is hopeful that negotiations with Mexico will be productive in the coming months. Additionally, the department is working to mitigate impacts from Canadian negotiations as well as the current trade war with China.

The drop in already low commodity price due to the trade war have greatly affected the agriculture industry across the U.S. To help farmers, the USDA recently announced a $12 billion aid package to help those who have been affected by retaliatory tariffs from China. It was good to hear that USDA is hopeful that these negotiations will ultimately be successful and result in more fair trade packages with other countries. USDA knows that until then, there are concerns about the loss in export markets and that there is risk of losing those markets to other counties and the department is doing their best to help agriculture weather the storm.

“We are very grateful that Under Secretary Ibach’s was able to make the time to talk through these important issues with Colorado farmers,” said Zach Riley, Director of Public Policy, National Affairs. “It’s a difficult time for agriculture. We know that the USDA doesn’t make these trade decisions and that they are not to blame for the punitive measures that other countries have chosen to impose. We are thankful that they act as a backstop to those measures and we are glad to have them in our corner.”

The meeting was extremely productive and addressed other issues such as biotech regulations, disaster relief and general issues that Colorado farmers and ranchers face every day. There was also celebration of many of the successes that Colorado agriculture has overcome. Colorado Farm Bureau is grateful for the opportunity to have such meaningful discussions with Under Secretary Ibach.

“I have confidence in the American farmer to produce the best quality and highest value product,” stated Under Secretary Ibach.

Colorado Farm Bureau agrees.