US, EU launch joint collaboration platform on agriculture
Today in Brussels, European Union Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced they had created a transatlantic collaboration platform on agriculture designed to take on the global challenges of sustainability and climate change.
In a joint statement, Wojciechowski and Vilsack said, “International collaboration to confront climate change and foster sustainability is paramount to mitigating the harsh and difficult future that awaits us as a global society. Climate change is already affecting the livelihoods of our farmers in deep and profound ways, from extreme weather volatility, to severe drought, to flooding, to wildfires and other catastrophic events that threaten our towns, cities and communities. We must rise to the challenge.
“Today we begin a new chapter in EU-U.S. collaboration with a new platform for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EU Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development to exchange knowledge and information, and to promote mutual understanding and trust, as we work together to address global challenges and achieve common goals.
“We are reaffirming our mutual commitment to sustainable and climate-smart agricultural production, recognizing that we are both engaged in multiple, effective ways to achieve mutually desired outcomes.
“We believe that science and innovation will bring about a more sustainable agriculture. We must work together to devise systems and solutions that are good for agricultural producers, good for consumers, good for businesses, good for our communities, and good for our planet. This includes fair and open markets at the local, regional, and international levels that bolster food security and sustainable food systems.
“The European Union and the United States are committed globally to enhanced and sustainable production, alleviating poverty and hunger, protecting our environment, and confronting climate change. This transformational initiative provides a platform for us to work cooperatively towards these goals.”
The European Commission also released the text of a speech in which Wojciechowski welcomed Vilsack.
In the speech, the European commissioner said that differences between European and U.S. agriculture “often obscure what we have in common.”
He cited the following examples of similarities:
▪ “Maybe some Europeans in the audience do not realize that, in the United States, the average size of a beef suckler cow herd is around 50 cows, and half of all producers have less than 20 cows.
▪ U.S. farmers might be surprised to learn that a large proportion of EU crop production is concentrated on farms that are bigger than the U.S. average.
▪ The audience in Brussels will be familiar with discussions on depopulation and the lack of digital connectivity in rural areas. I understand that these are also pressing issues in the United States.”
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