There is a farmer feel to the San Antonio, Texas Riverwalk this week as Indiana farmers and agribusiness representatives join thousands of others for the annual Commodity Classic event. Classic is organized by farmers representing the national corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum organizations.
Dennis Maple is a Howard County farmer and director on the board of the National Corn Growers Association. He said their board will be discussing issues like trade, sustainability and ethanol.
“Ethanol is always at the forefront since it is one of our major uses of corn, that and livestock. There are a few resolutions talking about livestock and how farmers handle their livestock and what we support. Other resolutions will talk about the high-octane fuels and standards for that. A couple of states have resolutions coming forward on that, so we’ll see how the delegate body wants to handle those.”
In recent weeks there have been international trade agreement developments, most notably the Phase I deal with China and the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement signed by President Trump. Those victories could have lifted spirits during Classic discussions, but Coronavirus is now gripping the markets and access to China.
“I think the trade engine is set in place for some things to happen,” Maple told HAT, “but we’ve had some setbacks here with Coronavirus and African swine fever setting back some of our actual demand. Then our ability to ship commodities over to Asia, and China in particular has been affected. They’ve got some labor issues right now on unloading and just getting people there to unload ships. it’s important to get those things ironed out soon and not just for China and the United States but the whole world. It’s a world economy and it’s important that things are moving well. This Coronavirus is a scary issue.”
Maple said Commodity Classic itself has much to offer farmers who attend. Learning sessions give insights from nationally recognized experts and the trade show offers farmers direct access to the major players in agriculture.
Guest speakers will include USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue Friday morning during the general session, and a team from Purdue, including Extension Director Jason Henderson, will present Thursday morning on Farm Management Strategies in Times of Rising Volatility.