Attendees to receive clarity on factors impacting export opportunities in a global marketplace

A downturned economy has farmers facing uncertainty and a growing set of new challenges both on the farm and in the export market.  The 2016 Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit, titled “Buckle Up for Bumpy Ride,” to be held June 27 in West Des Moines, seeks to answer common questions farmers have about their challenges today and in the future. 

One of the mounting challenges farmers face is challenges in the export market both from international competitors and high tariffs on beef and pork, limiting the U.S. exports of those commodities.  Additionally, here at home, the leading candidates for U.S. President have been critical of potential trade agreements, such as the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), which farmers consider essential for the sustainability of their family farms. 

“Meeting these challenges and remaining competitive in the export markets is extremely important for Iowa crop and livestock farmers,” said Dave Miller, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) director of research and commodity services.  “That’s why exports is one of our focal points in our upcoming Economic Summit.”

IFBF’s June 27 Economic Summit features a panel of trade experts who will examine the numerous export challenges and opportunities, both domestically and internationally, that impact a farmer’s operation.  Miller noted that events that can affect exports are often difficult to read and comprehend, which is why the expert panel will provide summit attendees with clarity and a realistic outlook for the future of important trade deals. 

The international trade panel at the summit will feature Erin Borror of the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF); Sam Funk, chief economist of the United Soybean Board (USB); and Veronica Nigh Swerdlow, trade specialist for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). 

“These presenters will provide us perspective on the potential for exports as well as an outlook for Congressional approval of the TPP and the proposed TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union,” Miller said. 

Additionally, the panelists will look at trade, as it pertains to the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign and the impact on farm exports.  Both expected nominees, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump, have been critical of TPP and blamed the trade agreement for the loss of American jobs, and have expressed opposition to the multi-nation trade deal. 

“There is a concern that these stances could roll back trade agreements or even set off a trade war,” Miller said.  “Historically, agriculture thrives under trade agreements, but feels the brunt of the negative impact during trade disputes.  It’s important for all of us in agriculture to see the potential consequences.”

The Economic Summit will also feature panels on other key issues facing farmers today, such as trends in land prices and rental rates, the ag lending climate and outlook for farm economy, and key technology such as big data and unmanned aerial systems or drones. 

Mike Pearson of IPTV’s Market to Market will moderate the one-day event which will be held at IFBF headquarters, 5400 University Avenue in West Des Moines on June 27, beginning at 7:30 a.m.  There will also be special panel discussions on key issues and experts to take questions.

Summit registration, which includes access to all presentations and lunch, is $75 for Farm Bureau members and $100 for non-members.  Register now for this essential risk management seminar.  Visit or call Lavonne Baldwin at 515-225-5633 or email