Agricultural policy is playing a critical role in the negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the ACG understands the importance of addressing the complex challenges and policies surrounding farming, food production, and access to food. In the 21st century, it is crucial that the new generation of professionals in both countries, many of whom are less aware than their predecessors of the importance of U.S.-German cooperation, have the opportunity to establish professional and personal ties with their transatlantic counterparts.
The ACG launched the McCloy Leadership Mission on Agriculture, Food Security, and Resource Scarcity (formerly the McCloy Fellowship in Agriculture) to give practitioners the opportunity to study agricultural, farm, and food-supply conditions on the other side of the Atlantic.
Four up-and-coming American agricultural professionals traveled to Germany from October 16 to 28, 2016, to exchange best practices with their German counterparts. The American cohort consisted of: Joshua Geigle, Family Farm and Ranch Partner from South Dakota; Dr. Elizabeth Kohtz, Dairy Veterinarian and Owner/Manager of QK Farms and an American Farm Bureau Grassroots Outreach Team Member from Idaho; Benjamin LaCross, Operations Manager for LaCross Farms and a member of the Michigan Farm Bureau Board of Directors; and Hilary Maricle, a member of the Boone County Board of Commissioners and the Board of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.
With a strong network of people across Germany who understand the importance of exchanging ideas, the American Council on Germany organized this 12-day fact-finding mission with the help of McCloy Fellowship alumni and the Deutscher Bauernverband (German Farmers’ Association). The group had the opportunity to discuss farming and agricultural policy during visits to Berlin, Bonn, Münster, and Stendal.
Upon their arrival in Berlin, the group dived into sensitive issues in the agriculture industry today, such as genetically modified foods, resource scarcity, and technological developments. While being hosted by Christian Gaebel (2015 McCloy Fellow), Officer for Agricultural Policy for the Deustcher Bauernverband, the group spent four days meeting with policymakers and government affairs officials. Among the meetings in Berlin, they met with Hermann Färber, Member of the Bundestag (CDU) and a 2008 McCloy Fellow, who actively works to protect the needs of German farmers.
After several days of policy discussions, the group traveled to Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia for tours of food processing facilities, farms, and biogas plants. Many of the conversations focused on sustainable farming and renewable energy, as well as government regulations and trade agreements.
This Leadership Mission was conducted in cooperation with the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Deutscher Bauernverband.