BY TIMOTHY EGGERT
Despite growing different crops and selling their products in contrasting markets, many issues facing French farmers align with challenges confronting American producers.
Those similarities were discussed Wednesday between a 12-member delegation made up of Illinois Farm Bureau members, staff and agribusiness representatives and Sénateur de l'Aisne Antoine Lefèvre during a meeting at Palais du Luxembourg.
Lefèvre, a three-term senator and member of the Republican Party, represents a rural area in the northern region of France, near the Belgium border.
Among the shared difficulties are government regulations around climate and pesticide use, maintaining competitiveness and profitability and connecting rural and urban communities.
"As farmers, we all have the same goal: to feed the world," Lefèvre said. "Feeding the world is crucial, and we need to make sure farmers and professionals have the support to do what they can do."
Much like American farmers, French farmers face pressure, and in some cases mandates, from the government and consumers to move toward environmentally-friendly farming practices.
That pressure, Lefèvre added, collides with a producer's ever-present bottom line.
"It's all about finding a sweet spot between sensible farming and conventional farming," Lefèvre said. "It's all about supporting farmers through that transition. We have to transition but that transition has to make sense economically."
IFB Vice President Brian Duncan echoed the same calculations presented by Lefèvre, explaining how Illinois farmers want the best for their operations, but have concerns about policies that limit ag practices.
Establishing relationships with farmers from across the Atlantic Ocean will enhance American producers' discussion of new and existing domestic ag policies, especially as officials draft the 2023 Farm Bill, Duncan said.
"We all do better when we learn from each other," Duncan said.
The IFB delegation on Thursday traveled to the Salon International de l'Agriculture, where it met with other international ag groups and officials.
This story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.