WASHINGTON – Leaders from various food and agriculture associations announced the formation of the Agriculture Trade Education Council (ATEC). The council is a non-profit group that will be a resource for education on agricultural trade policies and practices.

“As US agricultural stakeholders continue to rely increasingly on trade, it is important to understand how trade works, how the policies established impact US agriculture, and how to engage in trade,” said Becky Rasdall, an ATEC board member and a vice president of the International Dairy Foods Association. “ATEC is here to meet that need and support our agricultural community in better engaging the global market.”

Ag leaders who will serve on the ATEC board of directors in addition to Rasdall, include Michael Anderson, vice president of trade and industry affairs for the Corn Refiners Association; Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas; Melissa Kessler, director of strategic initiatives and engagement for the US Grains Council; Derek Sandison, director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture; and Michael Schumpp, international trade policy specialist for the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). Brian Kuehl will serve as executive director of the Agriculture Trade Education Council.

“This effort is long overdue,” Kuehl said. “Twenty percent of farm revenues in the United States derive from exports and farmers also rely on imports of ag inputs, tractor parts and other essential equipment. All of us in US food and agriculture need to understand and be prepared to navigate complex trade rules and dispute resolution structures and participate in trade negotiations. It’s time to get back to the basics of understanding trade and how trade agreements operate. These tools can allow us to expand farm revenues and support the whole food and ag supply chain.” 

For more information on ATEC and its activities, trainings and work, go to www.agtradeeducation.org.