WFO meeting held in RomeWorld agriculture leaders are attempting to identify common ground and work toward joint solutions, according to Woody Barth, president of North Dakota Farmers Union. The efforts are part of the Second General Assembly meeting of the World Farmers’ Organisation being held in Rome, Italy.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
World agriculture leaders are attempting to identify common ground and work toward joint solutions, according to Woody Barth, president of North Dakota Farmers Union. The efforts are part of the Second General Assembly meeting of the World Farmers’ Organisation being held in Rome, Italy.
Robert Carlson, former president of North Dakota Farmers Union, was elected president of the international body during its first general assembly meeting in South Africa in September 2011.
“Our theme is raising our voice and agriculture,” Barth said. “When we work together we achieve more goals than as individuals.”
Barth said the meetings addressed three basic topics as well as continued the organization process and the creation of bylaws.
“We’ve been talking about food and nutrition security,” Barth said. “And a lot of talk about climate change and its effect on agriculture and credit access for farmers.”
Barth said the talk on climate change included discussions on how farmers were reacting to the change in climate as well as what they could do to limit agriculture’s contribution to the problem.
“Some areas of the world are wetter and some are drier,” he said. “And we talked about how ag producers can prevent greenhouse gases through changes in farming practices.”
Another major topic was concerns about the effects of turmoil in the European financial markets and how it could impact imports.
“We have concerns about trade and a lot of discussion on stabilizing currencies,” Barth said. “There is a potential for effect on North Dakota farms. About two-thirds of what we produce is exported and the fluctuation in the euro affects trade.”
Larry White, international agribusiness manager for the North Dakota Trade Office, said volatility makes international trading more difficult.
“Changes in exchange rates can take you out of a project,” he said. “You have to buy insurance once the contract is signed. It is doable but it takes more diligence.”
White said international traders purchase insurance that guarantees the exchange rate will not change between the time the deal is struck and the product is delivered.
Currency volatility can also bring risk to the international commodity markets. White related situations where ships loaded with grain can be turned away at the port because the purchaser doesn’t have the funds to complete the trade.
White said it’s important for North Dakota exports for the euro to remain a viable currency.
“We can’t let the euro fail,” he said. “But that is way beyond the control of us in North Dakota.”
Barth said the meeting is attended by about 250 people representing 50 organizations from 40 countries. Most farming areas of the world were represented with the exception of South America.
The World Farmers’ Organisation was formed in 2011 as a body of farm organizations from around the world. It is headquartered in Rome.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com