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Mr. Brunner goes to Washington

Staff writer

International livestock trade will have a voice from Marion County when Tracy Brunner heads to Washington for his first meeting as part of the USDA’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for trade in animals and animal products.

Brunner said the first meeting is at the end of the summer, and he’s excited to get started.

“I think it’s important that we participate and contribute when possible,” he said. “I’m definitely looking forward to the experience and eager to attend the first meeting on behalf of America’s beef producers.”

Brunner is president of Cow Camp, Inc., a diversified farm and ranch that has headquarters in Lost Springs and Ramona.

Brunner said he was nominated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Kansas Department of Agriculture. Brunner is president-elect of NCBA, where he was on the board from 1998 to 2011, and a former president of the Kansas Livestock Association. He once served on the governor’s agricultural advisory board.

As part of a national committee now, Brunner’s influence will have a global reach. The committees will advise foreign trade negotiators to provide a private sector voice in establishing policy objectives.

“In other words, we don’t want our foreign negotiators going out and negotiating something not good for the industry,” Brunner said.

Brunner said “95 percent” of potential customers live outside the United States, so there’s a great opportunity for growing demand. Over $4.1 billion in agricultural goods were shipped to 95 different countries in 2014.

“As we are commodity producers and suppliers of downstream processors and exporters, our ultimate customers are the end-users of those products, and a growing number of those end-users in both quantity and quality are outside the United States,” he said.

Brunner isn’t certain what kind of contributions he’ll be making to the group, which comprises 19 producers from around the country.

“I’m sure I’ll find out,” he said. “Technical advisory committees are the intelligence that sets the standards and parameters that our industry can and is willing to meet,” he said.

Brunner said he brings a knowledge of how the U.S. beef industry operates, and its strengths and capabilities in supplying the needs of global consumers.

Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey congratulated Brunner and two other Kansans recently named to national committees.

“Not only will they represent our state’s agricultural industry well through their service to these USDA committees, their contributions will help drive the entire industry forward,” McClaskey said.

Last modified July 9, 2015

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