(Westminster, CO) - The appointment of the National Bison Association Executive Director Dave Carter to a U.S. Department of Agriculture trade advisory panel reflects the growing role of the bison business as a part of the overall agricultural economy, according to the association’s president, Bruce Anderson of South Dakota.
“Even though the bison business is a small part of the livestock industry, we need to be a part of any agreement that opens new markets to American agricultural products,” Anderson said. “We are pleased that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is including our voice at the table in this advisory panel.”
Carter was one of three individuals appointed by Vilsack last week to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade (ATAC) in Animals and Animal Products. The other individuals include Shelly McKee of the USA Poultry and Export Federation and Stephen Sothmann of the U.S. Hides, Skins and Leather Association. Vilsack appointed 16 other individuals to other trade panels that will advise the USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative in ongoing trade negotiations.
In making the appointments, Vilsack said, “The agricultural trade advisory committees provide great insight into trade issues for the United States. Hearing from such a wide variety of agricultural experts helps us formulate our trade strategy and keep American exports growing to record numbers. Agricultural trade plays a vital role in the health of our economy, and the new members of the committees will bring welcome new perspectives.”
Carter said that the inclusion of the bison industry on the advisory panel comes at a key time for producers and marketers because the ongoing free trade discussions with the European Union and the potential talks with Asian trading partners will all have an economic impact on the bison business.
“Secretary Vilsack and Trade Representative (Michael) Froman have both pledged to work to eliminate the tariff that is hampering the growth of bison meat exports to Europe. Including us on the ATAC demonstrates a commitment to that pledge,” Carter said. “In addition, we hope that negotiators will work to reopen markets in Japan and South Korea for our bison exports.”