Saturday, June 13, 2009

International partnerships are key to economic success

I recently hosted a delegation of Brazilian ranchers and elected officials who were in Texas as guests of the TCU Institute of Ranch Management. Although our countries have had strong differences in recent years over agricultural programs, such as those that have made Texas a global powerhouse in cotton production, we also have a lot of room for partnership. Major exports from Texas to Brazil, which has a population of more than 195 million, include wheat, prepared foods, pecans, animal by-products and feeds. Texas genetics are also highly sought by many cattle producing countries, such as Brazil, making them important markets for our ranching industries.

These agricultural representatives are dealing with issues similar to those facing our ranchers in Texas – issues involving the environment, trade and certain government programs. They also understand that although we are competitors in one sense, we also are partners. We discussed the ever-expanding European Union and other agricultural producing countries that are growing in market share like China and India. We also discussed the need to have international trading standards based on sound science, rather than political science, and how we must work for sustainable, long-term policies that will benefit agriculture and our mutual consumers.

I look forward to continuing to develop these international relationships. As we look to the future, maintaining a sound and productive dialogue with other countries in Central and South America will be essential to our success.

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