Opening up trade opportunities continues to be a top priority for the U.S. feed industry, according to Mallory Gaines, the director of market access and trade policy for the American Feed Industry Association.
She says opening up markets is what they’re asking of the Biden administration. AFIA is also tackling moving trends in feed, whether its rules set by other countries, disease prevention or sustainability.
“The United States is still a major agriculture producer and exporter — one of the top in the world,” Gaines says, noting that exports can also help level domestic feed prices.
“We actually have a surplus in this country of feed,” she explains. “In order for a business to grow… we really do need to look overseas, and that actually helps bring up the entire United States economy.”
This is one of the reasons that AFIA is pushing the Biden administration to open up more market opportunities.
“We want tariff reductions, we want these SPS issues to be changed… we want free trade agreements,” she lists off. “There’s a lot of different discussions going on with different countries, like the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework with Asia… and we just don’t know what agreements look like or those discussions are going to look like and how they’re really going to promote U.S. agriculture and U.S. trade.”
SPS stands for sanitary phytosanitary issues. These are science-based issues that may differ between countries. Gaines says that sometimes countries have to go to the World Trade Organization to see whose science is correct. This happens between the U.S. and the European Union, which has a more cautionary principle.
AFIA is a member of the USDA’s Market Access Program Funds. The association uses those funds to open markets for feed ingredients.
Among the feed trade conversations is animal disease. AFIA has a biosecurity document for feed mills in the U.S. and oversees to ensure disease isn’t being passed through feed, such as African Swine Fever.
“Everybody in Wisconsin probably knows someone whose affiliated with AFIA because we also represent pet food,” Gaines says. AFAI represents pet foods, livestock feed, equipment manufacturers and feed mills.
Aside from trade, the association is also tackling lingering supply chain issues, including railroad disruptions. Gaines says the railroad system is old, it’s monopolized and the labor strikes have brought inconsistencies to their members.
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