Fort Hall—Dusty Clark from Rigby won the Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion meet Tuesday in Fort Hall.
Clark is a veterinarian out of Rigby, He won a close and competitive discussion meet using a barrage of trade facts and figures. The Farm Bureau interviewed Clark after the meet:
Did you think you could win the discussion meet in such a strong field?
I’ve competed against several of the individuals before, I knew it was going to be a good discussion and I was excited about it. This competition is actually a method to get to be friends with a lot of these people and I have become friends with them over the years, it was just a good time and I think we had a positive discussion.
The question concerned the renegotiation of trade agreements, a timely topic?
The question dealt with overcoming negative public perception with regards to foreign trade and how we can negotiate new trade agreements with foreign entities to rather our agricultural products. Its tough because there is such a negative perception in the public and that was something I touched on as far as statistics go and how many people view that negatively, and so its a big hurdle for us to overcome so we need those emerging markets because our products are safer and of higher quality than most around the world. At the same time, we have to protect against cheap agricultural and manufacturing goods coming into the country, which we cant compete with here in the United States as far as production goes.
You were very knowledgeable about the the Trade topic, did you research it?
Trade is interesting to me because it came up in the Presidential election. Trade was something that President Trump, then-candidate Trump hammered on, specifically some of the unfair deals we had with China. Especially some of the manufacturing of products we use in this country tends to be overseas. China is a major player, I thought this would be a good place to start as far as the discussion goes. Another area I looked at is cattle production. I researched Argentina, Brazil, and Austrailia. I was interested in what their laws and tariffs did to their trade economies.
Why did you single out Argentina as a trade policy example?
Argentina was a good trade example to use in the discussion meet because their famers and ranchers switched to soybeans to make money because trade tariffs and restrictions made soybeans more profitable. It wiped out their cattle market, they dropped from the top ten in the world. They went from the number 3 cattle producer in the world to not even the top 10 because of their restrictive government policies. It stresses the importance of what we do here and what the Farm Bureau does.
The National Discussion meet is coming up next week, are you ready?
Getting ready for the national meet in Nashville, I won't do anything differently. I'm going to continue to read and study. I think so much depends on your opening and closing statements. Those are areas that can be polished specifically to each question and so my research will continue on each question. I'd like to polish my opening and closing statements better. I have offers from past winners to practice and do mock competitions with them, I'll touch bases with a few judges we had so I can get constructive feedback.