U.S. Agricultural Trade delegation to the Netherlands, including Mississippi Ag Commissioner Andy Gipson (photo from Gipson's Twitter)
The USDA Under Secretary led a delegation of agribusinesses, farm groups, and State Departments of Agriculture in promoting export opportunities to Northwest Europe.
On Wednesday, Mississippi Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner Andy Gipson joined a media teleconference with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis M. Taylor, along with several other state department of agriculture leaders, to share how agricultural trade and activities like USDA trade missions benefit their state.
USDA Under Secretary Taylor held the media teleconference call from Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, where she has been leading a delegation of representatives from U.S. agribusinesses, farm organizations, and State Departments of Agriculture on a trade mission. The Mississippi Ag Commissioner is one of those state representatives.
In addition to Commissioner Gipson, California Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross, Maine Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Amanda Beal, and North Dakota Commissioner of Agriculture Doug Goehring were also on the call.
“Proud to be with USDA representing the State of Mississippi on this first ever Agricultural Trade Mission to the Netherlands, gateway to Europe,” Gipson declared on Twitter. “Looking for positive developments for our forest products, grain, beef, sweet potatoes and more.”
USDA Under Secretary Taylor said as they are wrapping up the U.S.-Netherlands agribusiness trade mission, she thought it would be a good opportunity to highlight some of what they have done and seen during the time they have been there this week.
“We have been joined by a diverse group of nearly forty U.S. agribusinesses, farm groups, and State Departments of Agriculture as they have explored export opportunities to the region,” Secretary Taylor said. “The diverse delegation represents a huge variety of what American agriculture has to offer.”
Secretary Taylor said the trade mission primarily highlighted export opportunities in the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. She explained that the combined total of agricultural and related exports to these countries was $4.5 billion last year, which represented an 11% increase from 2021.
Taylor noted that they also learned how the small country of 17.5 million people in Northwest Europe is an international trading powerhouse and how the Dutch partners are capitalizing on the logistics expertise of the Netherlands with a key role for U.S. agriculture.
While the U.S. is the leading exporter in the world of food and agricultural products, the Netherlands, which is roughly the size of West Virginia, is second. Secretary Taylor added that they have seen first-hand why that is this week.
“The focus on innovation in the agricultural sector has really shown, I think, in all of the tours that we had. As you can imagine, sustainability was an important theme this week as well,” Secretary Taylor continued. “It was great to see U.S. agriculture playing key roles in the Dutch story of sustainable agriculture.”
Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner Gipson thanked Under Secretary Taylor for allowing him to join the diverse group on the call. He said the delegation truly represents a broad cross-section of what the U.S. has to offer.
“As my role has been as Commissioner of Mississippi, of course we’ve got the focus on maybe some different products and different interests than other states may have, but some of them overlap as well,” Gipson stated. “I’ve been talking with and looking into the work on soybeans here, and poultry, and sweet potatoes.”
Gipson added that he was delighted to find fresh sweet potatoes in the grocery store that they visited retail. In fact, he said, some of those sweet potatoes were from Mississippi. Additionally, Commissioner Gipson noted grain fed USA Beef.
“Something that we have really seen an increase in exporting from Mississippi, specifically to the Netherlands, is our wood products,” Commissioner Gipson stated. “Wood pellets, sustainable source of energy. We have an overabundance of Southern Yellow Pine in Mississippi as well as hardwoods and we need to thin those woods to keep them healthy and sustainable.”
Commissioner Gipson continued to say that Mississippi foresters can produce the wood pellets for energy at no sacrifice, not even one acre of loss of forest land.
“We’ve been able to communicate that as well as the good work of conservation,” Gipson concluded. “I want to thank you for allowing me to join you on this journey and I look forward to continuing to support you in these missions in the future.”