National and state of Iowa agricultural commodity leaders held a virtual town hall meeting on July 30 to discuss the future of Iowa agriculture, with a focus on trade and supply chains. With major in-person state agriculture town halls postponed, this conversation aimed to help state farmers learn and share their views with commodity association leaders. This conversation was part of the AGTalks town hall series focusing on key U.S. agriculture producing states and came at a time when Iowa’s competitiveness in agriculture is impacted by the trade dispute between China and the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the increase in non-U.S. trade agreements with overseas customers that Iowa has traditionally served. Panelists shared challenges, new opportunities, and fielded questions from participants.
Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), served as a panelist during the event. Sutter described collaboration across the ag industry during the pandemic and trade uncertainty, talked about the ways that USSEC has continued to engage with customers and stakeholders around the world during this time, and highlighted how USSEC and the U.S. soy industry have coordinated with other U.S. ag organizations during the pandemic. Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association, hosted the virtual meeting.