The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has described the election of Joe Biden as the next US President as “generally positive” for Irish farming and food exports.

The Democrat candidate won the race against outgoing Republican President Donald Trump after more than three days of uncertainty as votes were counted following a record turnout.

Biden secured 270 electoral college votes with a win in Pennsylvania securing him the role of 46th President of the United States.

Discussion has now begun in countries across the world as to what this might mean for many sectors including agriculture and the economy.

ICMSA President Pat McCormack said:

“We think that three points emerge clearly and we can expect them to be guiding lights of a new Biden administration.

The first will be the downgrading of tariffs as an instrument of economic policy. The fact is that there was a severe danger of Irish food getting caught in the crossfire as the US and China engaged in a tariff war.

“Irish farming and food – in the same way as any other Irish export – always prefers less economic isolationism and more free trade. The more open the world economy, the better it is for Irish food exports and the farmers who provide that –  albeit at unsatisfactory margins,” said McCormack.

“The second point is that we are likely to see a substantial shift in federal resources and research into an accelerated bio-energy. That will have knock-on effects on US farming and will alter the traditional cereal and beef profiles in several states,” added McCormack.

It might open up more opportunities for premium grass-fed beef and give our beef exports to the US the kind of impetus that gets them out of the first gear in which they’ve been stuck.

“It seems reasonable to assume that you’ll see more regulation of artificial hormones and we think that anything that divides the US beef market into more identifiable categories should suit more natural grass-fed and natural beef, like ours,” he said.

The third point raised by the ICMSA is in relation to any hopes by the UK to establish a free trade agreement with what might have been the Trump administration.

McCormack added: “That option is now off the table. We think this means that the UK government – and especially some of the more extreme anti-EU elements – are now going to have to accept that they desperately need a successful trade agreement with the EU.

“That should mean a new softer line that will move negotiations forward and make our aim – a new arrangement as close to the present one as possible – much more likely,” concluded McCormack.