August 15, 2023
Former U.S. Ambassador to Deliver Gardiner Global Food Systems Lecture Oct. 9
Kansas-born Gregg Doud, whose stellar career in agricultural trade policy includes leading often-intense discussions with China between 2018 and 2020 as the chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, will be the featured speaker for the Henry C. Gardiner Global Food Systems lecture October 9 at Kansas State University.
Doud’s talk – titled ‘The Future of Agricultural Trade, Geopolitics and Food’ -- begins at 7 p.m. in K-State’s McCain Auditorium. Admission is free.
Born in Mankato, Kansas, Doud earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Kansas State University before embarking on a career that includes serving as a market analyst for U.S. Wheat Associates; chief economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; and president of the Commodity Markets Council.
Since 2020, Doud has been vice president of global situational awareness and chief economist with Aimpoint Research, a global, strategic alliance that specializes in agri-food. He recently left that position to become the chief executive officer and president of the National Milk Producers Federation.
He was also a senior staff member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee that wrote the 2012 Senate Farm Bill.
His negotiations with China’s vice minister of agriculture on an agricultural trade agreement included 33 sessions over the course of a year, which occurred either in person and lasted 10-12 hours in Washington, D.C. or Beijing; or by video conference beginning early in the morning or lasting late into the night to accommodate the 12-13 hour time difference.
“It was a painstaking process,” said Doud, who held the title of U.S. Ambassador at the time. “But in the course of that agreement, we fixed 57 things in the agricultural trading relationship between the U.S. and China. These were things that had been impediments between the two countries for decades… And as a result of doing that work, in the last couple of years we’ve seen our agricultural exports to China increase from $26 billion to $38 billion last year.”
“So,” he adds, “it was a big deal. And we solved a lot of problems in our trading relationship simply by slogging it out.”
Doud said his talk at K-State will focus on the future of agricultural markets.
“I plan to talk about the future of agricultural trade as it relates to protein – beef, pork, poultry and dairy,” he said. “If you look 10 years down the road, in no way does the (current) supply of animal protein…come anywhere near meeting the global demand.
“So, if you look around to see who can produce more protein, the answer becomes pretty obvious that really the only place this is going to happen is in North America. Nowhere else on Earth has the capability to meet the expected demand; the countries in North America have the capability and I believe my charge is to say, ‘Let’s go.’ Let’s get in gear and go meet this demand.”
Doud said China is the world’s largest importer of animal protein. Despite the difficulties in that country’s economy, he anticipates that China will import a record amount of meat in 2023.
While working for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Doud said he was determined to open the U.S. beef market to China, promising his boss “a $1 billion dollar market.”
“Well, I was wrong,” Doud said. “Last year, we sold China $2.1 billion.”
Beyond China, Doud said there are opportunities to expand trade with many other countries and many commodities. Pork and dairy production in Europe is declining, he said. New Zealand farmers also are talking about shrinking their dairy herds.
“There are few places on Earth that can produce more dairy cows and milk (than is currently being done),” Doud said. “But in the United States, we can do that, and you’re going to see Kansas and the Central Plains make a big play in this area. In fact, you already are.”
Beyond speaking on agricultural trade, Doud’s visit includes interacting with college students, who he said have a great opportunity to benefit from the U.S. animal health corridor, largely recognized as the region between Manhattan, Kansas and Kansas City.
“This is probably the hottest place on Earth for careers in animal health, if you consider what’s going on at the National Bio- and Agrodefense Facility (NBAF) and Manhattan and all the way to Kansas City,” Doud said. “Whether students know it or not, they’re at Ground Zero territory for careers in animal health.”
Kansas State University established the Henry C. Gardiner Global Food Systems lecture series to provide science-based education about world food issues. The series allows students, faculty, staff and Kansas citizens to interact with U.S. and international food industry leaders on topics of current interest.
The lecture series is funded by the Gardiner family of Ashland, Kan. Henry C. Gardiner, who passed away just days before the first lecture in 2015, was known as a visionary leader who dedicated his career to improving the beef industry through science and technology.
More information on the lecture, as well as videos of past speakers, is available online.