State and national agricultural groups are seeking government support in helping to facilitate solutions to ongoing export challenges. Seven organizations recently crafted a letter detailing the need for better understanding and communication between agricultural exporters and ocean carriers. The letter was addressed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the National Economic Council. A copy of the letter was also sent to multiple state agencies and California lawmakers. Almond Alliance President and CEO, Aubrey Bettencourt said the letter highlights how supply chain challenges are hurting producers and what is needed moving forward.
“We need a meeting with carriers. We need to identify and negotiate what it’s going to take to make containers and equipment available and to hold receiving windows at adequate intervals so that we can load ships and get our cargo out to the world and get our products out to the world,” said Bettencourt. “With that, we drafted this letter, compiled the information as concisely as possible and made that request very poignantly.”
Along with the Almond Alliance of California, other signatories of the letter include California Farm Bureau, Western Growers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, U.S. Dairy Export Council, Western United Dairies, and the California Walnut Handlers Alliance. The groups acknowledge the efforts already taken to address export challenges; however further action will be necessary to adequately address the export losses the ag industry is faced with. Bettencourt explained that is why they are asking the federal government to convene a meeting with ocean carriers and act negotiator.
“There is nothing legally preventing the United State of America acting as a supporter, an advocate, and negotiator for its farmers, ranchers, and businesses. So that’s our ask,” Bettencourt noted. “We need to sit down with carriers, and we need to negotiate something. It doesn’t have to be a good-guy/bad-guy situation, it just needs to be a conversation to understand where all parties are, what all parties need, and can we strike a deal to get cargo moving again.”