“We Want To Create Goodwill": NASDA wants to help break trade barriers

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture is taking their work with the Tri-National Accords and using it to address issues like pesticide registrations and glyphosate restrictions in Mexico.

“We’ve already had a three-hour session, and many of us will make the trek down to just south of Mexico City in mid-May to talk about these kinds of things. And we don’t know if there’s a solution there or not, but we think that us and our members at a grassroots level working with their counterparts at a grassroots level might just help the situation along.”

NASDA CEO Ted McKinney says they are also working on plans to do more international outreach to build markets and break down barriers.

“Chlorinated chicken is a myth that the European successfully created and now it’s sort of on everybody’s brain. We don’t hardly use chlorine. They’ve been using this as a false trade barrier, and we didn’t do anything about it. We didn’t do enough about it. And so, the degree to which our members and we’d love to take a guest or two along, depending on the country. We want to dispel those myths. We want to create goodwill.”

McKinney says it’s also important to talk about the innovation happening on American farms.

“Many people do not really fully realize or appreciate how much work has been done here in the U.S. and what a leader the U.S. and many of the states are, because we are so active in the no-till or minimum-till area, that’s greenhouse gases that are not going up. Tilling into the soil emits greenhouse gas. So, I won’t state my favorite area of the world that I’d like to pick on. But the fact that they’re still moldboard plowing and using a disc cultivator twice. You know, let’s compare notes on who’s doing the better job with climate change.”

McKinney served as USDA’s Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs and knows how critical it is for the Biden administration to fill their vacant Under Secretary and USTR jobs or countries could start putting up barriers.

“The moment you don’t have somebody showing up, sneaky things, funky things start to occur. And I have to believe that some of that is occurring now. So, I’m not here to blame anybody because I do believe the efforts are there. But I think we can revisit these ethics rules if they’re saying you can’t farm and come into one of these jobs. That is just beyond the pale and we’ve got to visit that. So, I’m a fan of what they’re doing. I want to continue what they’re doing, but those two positions are very critical. Speaking as one that held one of them.”

He’s heard the ethics rules that would require a candidate to sell their farm have prevented several people from completing the process to fill the jobs. But McKinney argues the Administration should want someone with farming experience instead of penalizing a family business.


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