2009 Global Farmer Roundtable

October 13-15, 2009 – Des Moines, Iowa USA

Participants:

Moderator – Dr. Robert Thompson, Gardner Chair in Agricultural Policy, Univ. of Illinois

Argentina – Mr. Marcelo Merce
Australia – Ms. Louise Staley
Brazil – Mr. Eduardo Sekita
Chile – Mr. Eugenio Ariztia
China – Mr. Cheng Cunwang
Honduras – Mr. Luis Rodriguez
India – Mr. Rajesh Kumar
Ireland – Mr. Jim McCarthy
Kenya – Mr. Gilbert Bor
Mexico – Mr. Francisco Gurria
Portugal – Mr. Jose Rasquilha
Portugal – Mr. Joao Grilo
South Africa – Mr. Michael Allen
United Kingdom – Mr. Lindsay Hargreaves
United States:
Indiana – Ms. Carol Keiser
New Jersey – Mr. John Rigolizzo, Jr.
Oklahoma – Ms. Hope Pjesky

Farmers world-wide, both large and small producers, have at least two goals: 1) to produce enough food and fiber to support their families; and 2) to have access to risk management technology and information so they can overcome the challenges of weather and the economy.
When 17 farmers from six continents met in Des Moines during the Global Farmer Roundtable, they talked about both issues, said Bob Thompson, the distinguished University of Illinois professor of international agriculture public policy, who moderated two days of discussion.

The farmers introduced themselves to each other by describing their farm operations, and through that, “they learn how similar their problems are,” Thompson said. “They also learned from each other what has worked and what has not worked” in solving those problems.

Thompson, who is on both the USDA-USTR Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade and the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council, said the farmers clearly were concerned about losing competitiveness. “We are entering a period of greater volatility and risk in both commodity prices and yields,” he said. “Risk management skills will be key for their future.”

The Global Farmer Roundtable, which was organized by Truth About Trade and Technology (TATT), brings farmers together to focus on their similarities and provide education about technologies that can help them manage risk, said Mary Boote, TATT’s executive director. “Agricultural science is increasingly under attack by groups and individuals who, for political rather than scientific reasons, are campaigning to limit advances,” she said.

“The farmers who participated in this year’s Roundtable got acquainted with one another and will form a powerful network of information and assistance,” Boote said as she pointed to the networks formed by the 59 farmers who have attended since its inception in 2006.

The Global Farmer Roundtable was sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Organization and the Council for Biotechnology Information.