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Transatlantic cooperation: NCBA outlines highlights from U.S. and EU Collaboration Platform on Agriculture

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

On April 8-9, representatives from across the U.S. and the European Union (EU) met in Washington, D.C. for the 2024 U.S.-EU Collaboration Platform on Agriculture (CPA), a venue for transatlantic agriculture cooperation which began in November 2021. 

This was the first year the forum was held in the U.S. 

On April 10, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Executive Director of Government Affairs Kent Bacus, NCBA Chief Council Mary-Thomas Hart and NCBA Policy Division Chair and Idaho Rancher Kim Brackett sat down during an episode of the association’s Beltway Beef podcast to discuss some highlights from the event. 

Building a relationship

To begin, Bacus notes the CPA is an endeavor between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and their European counterparts to build a relationship and share research, policy and production ideas, while working toward the common goal of sustainable livestock production.  

“Quite frankly, our relationship has been very icy and trade has been difficult,” shares Bacus. “This platform is recognition between our two governments that we need to find ways to work together as the two largest food-producing economies in the world.” 

All three of the speakers brought up fundamental differences between the two countries which have caused some contention when it comes to trade. 

“We have some fundamental differences between the way we use science for food production,” states Bacus. “Here, science is the defining factor for everything, and ultimately, we have the safest and most efficient food production system in the world.” 

He continues, “Europeans take other factors into consideration, like social concerns and things that are a little more subjective in nature and harder to measure.” 

Further, Hart shares although she believes rural producers from both countries likely feel the same way about the existence, size and involvement of the federal government, European producers deal with more governmental control in their day-to-day lives. 

“We have seen this carried out to a greater extent in the EU – everything from regulations impacting their everyday production practices all the way to current proposals like their deforestation regulations or carbon border adjustments, which could even impact our ability in the U.S. to produce products for the European market,” she says. 

Bacus adds through collaborative efforts like the CPA, the U.S. and EU have been able to strengthen their relationship, despite their differences, which has led to some very productive conversations. 

Sharing ideas 

These conversations have allowed representatives from both countries to share their ideas in an effort to achieve the overarching goals of the forum. 

Bacus notes the CPA allows producers and stakeholders to highlight individual production practices, shared sustainability goals and advances each country has made in production agriculture. 

Brackett mentions she was able to discuss some of the specific challenges she has faced as a producer, most of which come down to increased scrutiny of the production practices she implements on her ranch. 

“In addition to hearing Kim’s really valuable perspective, we also heard from the U.S. dairy industry, a trade association representing livestock producers in the EU, as well as an EU animal welfare group,” says Hart. “It was really interesting to hear all of the different perspectives in the room.” 

Working together 

The majority of conversations taking place at the CPA were geared toward finding ways the two countries could work together toward a more sustainability agriculture industry. 

“We are looking for opportunities like this CPA to have discussions with other producers, get ideas and look for solutions to continue to have sustainable production,” states Bacus. “But,  it isn’t just about environmental sustainability, it is also about economic sustainability.” 

Bacus, Hart and Brackett agree sharing stories from individual producers, as well as the U.S. as a whole, will help the EU – and the rest of the world – understand the good work American producers are doing to take care of their land and their animals.

Moving forward, Bacus notes the U.S. and EU will continue these conversations, especially focusing on their shared goals of climate and animal care improvements. 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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