Exports Vital to Iowa Agriculture Growth

Agribusiness Reporter David Geiger speaks to Dave Miller the Director of Research and Commodity Services at the Iowa Farm Bureau on the U.S.-China relationship and his reflection on 20 years working for IFB.

David Geiger: “How you are viewing our current relationship with China?”

Dave Miller: "'Strained' would be the one word I would use to describe it. And the strain that is out there between the U.S. and China has been brewing for quite a while. And I think there are people and countries around the world that are actually pretty much behind the U.S. effort on this to say that China needs to change. And yes, we want access to that market, yes we want good trade relationships with them. But they need to play by the rules. And whether the tariffs are the right way to bring them to them to the bargaining table to make change there, I guess, is yet to be seen. Clearly agriculture gets hurt by tariffs while that's going on. But I remind people. The U.S. didn't put tariffs on soybeans. The U.S. didn't put tariffs on pork, China did. It was not the U.S. that created problems for corn imports into China. That was China's decision. We have been, and will remain, a reliable supplier to China. The question is, are they a reliable buyer?"

David Geiger: “Now, Dave, you are retiring at the beginning of next year, and you've had nearly 20 years of experience here at the Iowa Farm Bureau. With agriculture and international relations, particularly pertaining here to the local economy. What do you see looking back at that when you see the future of Iowa agriculture?”

Dave Miller: "Well, I think the future of Iowa agriculture is still bright. We continue to develop markets around the world. We produce for a world market. Exports are extremely important to almost every commodity produced in Iowa. Probably, just did some recent numbers, and 59 percent of the soybeans, soybean meal, soybean oil end up in export markets. It's about 23 percent of our pork ends up in export markets. Ten to 12 percent of our beef. Fifteen to 20 percent of corn and if you add any DDGs it's probably up into the 22-23 percent. All of these markets are vitally to the continued growth and development of Iowa. And so trade and international relationships are very important. I see us continuing to work on those. The recent skirmish with China probably points to the wisdom if you will of having multiple trading partners. And not putting all your eggs in one basket with regard to a single market for export goods."

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