Farmers for Free Trade hires consultants | TheFencePost.com

Farmers for Free Trade hires consultants

Farmers for Free Trade, a group co-chaired by former Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., announced it has hired K·Coe Isom, LLP, a Washington agricultural consulting firm, and World Strategies LLC, a Bentonville, Ark., international affairs firm, to manage its pro-trade campaign.

Last month, the American Farm Bureau Federation announced that it was joining Farmers for Free Trade and would be coordinating closely with the new organization.

Brian Kuehl, head of federal affairs at K·Coe Isom, will serve as executive director of the group, and Ryan Stroschein will assist in day-to-day management of Washington operations and agriculture association engagement.

Policy and grassroots advocacy will be led by World Strategies, with Angela Marshall Hofmann, a former Walmart executive and Baucus aide, serving as deputy director and Jennifer Spall, also a former Walmart executive, serving as director of state and local advocacy.

"K·Coe Isom's leadership in the food and ag industry will help Farmers for Free Trade connect not only with farmers and ranchers, but also with the vast network of industries that depend on robust global trade," Kuehl said in a news release.

"We plan to engage everyone from processors, to packagers, to lenders, and distributors in order to make the case that trade policy in Washington, D.C., matters to their bottom line.

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"Farmers for Free Trade reverses the way trade advocacy has been done for decades," Spall said. "We will be partnering with our nation's governors, engaging local ag leaders, and sharing information about how trade policy impacts each state's economic footprint."

"Those inside the beltway need to hear from farmers and ranchers on the ground about how ag exports are keeping not only their families afloat, but the way that trade benefits ripple in the supply chain from farmer to processor to consumer."

Kuehl, a former aide to Baucus, led the Farmers for Tax Fairness coalition that successfully opposed changes to cash accounting for agriculture in the tax reform bills, the group noted in a news release.