It used to be that agriculture lobbying groups and stakeholders were hyper-focused on the movements and decisions surrounding the farm bill. While that’s still true, and 2023 will feature important work on a new farm bill, there are many other agriculture-minded issues that are decided outside of the farm bill. During the January 11 Hoard’s Dairyman DairyLivestream, The Garrison Group’s Charlie Garrison detailed a few of those issues that will affect agriculture from the outside.
Primarily the three issues pertinent to agriculture include labor, budgeting, and trade.
“We obviously still have the very serious labor shortage facing the dairy industry that we'd like to try to continue doing something about,” he said. “The political climate did not improve for us over the course of the midterm elections in terms of labor laws, though.”
Those midterm elections and the resulting votes regarding the new Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives brought to light some political fissures that likely will impact the new farm bill and passage of all legislation in the 118th Congress.
“An even bigger change in the House of Representatives that we're going to see be very impactful on the farm bill is that least three seats on the rules committee were directed toward budget hawks, if you will,” Garrison detailed. “The House rules committee is critical to the way the House of Representatives functions.
“That’s going to have implications for the farm bill going forward especially with the split Congress needing to agree,” he continued.
Dairy will focus on trade, too
“With the start of this new Congress, international trade remains extremely important for dairy farmers and dairy processors from a demand standpoint,” Garrison explained, noting that free trade agreements have helped the U.S. dairy community grow dairy product sales. “The overseas markets are more and more critical for us.”
Garrison said dairy would like to see more emphasis on trade initiative and new trade agreements as well as a continued effort to maintain compliance on the current agreements.
Transportation remains an underlying and important part of the trade story. Fellow panelist Dave Carlin, who is senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy with the International Dairy Foods Association, emphasized the importance and challenge of both domestic and international shipping. They would like to see something be done regarding rail and over road legislation to alleviate some of the congestion and stress on those two important pieces of the dairy infrastructure.
To watch the recording of the January 11 DairyLivestream, go to the link above. The program recording is also available as an audio-only podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and downloadable from the Hoard’s Dairyman website.