Open Mic Replay - An Extensive Catalog of Our Audio Interviews


Ambassador Darci Vetter - USTR
This week's interview features Ambassador Darci Vetter, Chief Agriculture Negotiator with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Ambassador Vetter expects a positive year for global trade with the anticipated congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPA) agreement and conclusion of the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks. Vetter responds to speculation of a potential challenge of U.S. policy for soybean risk protection and possible trade reaction to a pending USDA decision to designate cottonseed as an oilseed. While both U.S. export volume and value may be lower, Vetter believes agricultural trade will be less affected by global economics than other products.

Dr. Gary Adams - NCC
This week's guest on Open Mic is Dr. Gary Adams, President and CEO of the National Cotton Council. In this update you'll hear why the industry is calling on a cottonseed designation from the USDA and concerns the cotton and textile industry have with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. While the 2014 Farm Bill provided greater risk management tools for farmers, many producers may be challenged to secure financing for this season's production. Adams also explains the cotton industry's concerns with USDA's definitions of those deemed actively engaged in farming.

Bob Stallman
This week's Open Mic guest is American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. In this interview, Stallman reflects on his tenure as leader of the nation's largest general farm organization and many of the changes that occurred. Stallman discusses accomplishments in the last session of Congress and identifies ominous challenges still facing the industry on Capitol Hill and in courtrooms across the country. The Texas farmer and rancher shares thoughts on the debate over GMO labeling, comprehensive tax reform, risk management and why EPA water quality regulations are such a threat to private property rights

Andy LaVigne - CEO ASTA
Our guest on this edition of Agri-Pulse Open Mic is Andy LaVigne, President and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). The seed industry is among many groups hoping Washington will approve legislation to establish a national voluntary GMO labeling standard. In this in-depth interview, Andy LaVigne discusses industry implications if Congress fails to develop national guidelines to override state statutes and how the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is the first to acknowledge seed technology in global commerce. LaVigne says plant breeding technology is developing faster than government regulatory systems with potential consequences for both farmers and consumers. Finally, LaVigne offers thoughts on recent company mergers.

Representative David Young
Iowa Congressman David Young discusses the wins and losses for agriculture in last week's congressional action on spending and taxes in this week's Open Mic. While agriculture failed to see language to stop the EPA from enforcing its WOTUS regulations and couldn't establish a national standard for voluntary GM food labeling, he shares other policy victories on taxes and renewable fuels. For the year ahead, Young discuss his goals for comprehensive tax reform, continued support for renewable energy, the potential for a multi-year budget process and he shares some pointed questions for 2016 presidential candidates when they visit his home state of Iowa.

Rep. Collin Peterson
This week's guest on Open Mic is Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee. In this interview, the Minnesota Democrat shares his concerns with the current farm law and on how farmers are using its risk management tools. Peterson identifies what he sees as two flaws in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and shares his thoughts following a recent hearing on the Farm Credit System. Peterson says it's too soon to pass judgement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and believes it may be an uphill battle to find congressional approval.

Jeff Swanhorst, EVP AgriBank
This week Agri-Pulse Open Mic features Jeff Swanhorst, chief credit officer for AgriBank. Lower farm income is already affecting farm balance sheets and raising concerns about operating loans. This interview includes tough questions and straight answers on the sufficiency of the new farm bill and crop insurance to help farmers manage risk, the outlook for farmland prices, and how lower commodity returns could force a shift in crop acreage. Jeff Swanhorst says the industry has entered an ag efficiency cycle that will likely include further producer consolidation.

Senator Joe Donnelly-IN
Agri-Pulse Open Mic features U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly. The Hoosier Democrat is an outspoken critic of the Environmental Protection Agency's WOTUS rule. In this week's interview, Donnelly suggests legislative action may still be possible to thwart the agency's new regulations. Senator Donnelly shares support for the Export Import Bank, has hopes for child nutrition reform and feels an urgency to resolve COOL laws in light of pending trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico. Like others in Washington and across the country, Donnelly is evaluating the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and shares ideas on what is needed to gain his vote on the measure.

MIke Conaway
In this week's edition of Open Mic, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway discusses what promises to be a frantic start to December as the U.S. Congress faces a deadline to approve omnibus appropriations legislation. Chairman Conaway is intent to see protection from budget cuts for the farm bill and crop insurance. In this interview, Conaway calls for administrative changes in the farm bill to help cotton farmers, discusses how the threat of trade retaliation from COOL is already affecting commerce with Canada, and the committee's work to review the nation's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Our guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. In this week's interview the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee discusses a challenging agricultural agenda. With time running out on the congressional calendar, Stabenow feels an urgency to find compromise on GMO labeling and COOL trade laws. Stabenow discusses a potential compromise on child nutrition reform and defines the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal as a complicated proposal with benefits for agriculture but challenges for industry. Stabenow also lists legislation that could be included in an omnibus appropriations bill next month.

Senator Pat Roberts, R-KS
Our guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan. In this week's interview, the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee discusses further action on the EPA's Waters of the U.S. definition and says his committee is close to a compromise on a child nutrition bill. Roberts expects further attacks on the crop insurance industry and says he and other congressional farm state leaders are ready to defend farmers' top policy priorities. Roberts says with the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership now public, he and other leaders can begin to evaluate and debate what the proposed deal would mean to agriculture and the nation.

Senator Joni Ernst
From her family's Iowa farm to the troubled lands of the Middle East, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst has dedicated her life to the nation's security: for ample food and against foes. In this week's Open Mic Interview U.S. Senator Joni Ernst shares her thoughts on proposed legislative action to block the EPA's new clean water rules, the economic significance of the agency's RFS volume obligation announcement, long term funding for the Highway Trust Fund and why Washington should address GMO food labeling.

Senator Kent Conrad
This week's guest on Open Mic is former US Senator Kent Conrad. As a former Chair of the Senate Budget Committee the North Dakota Democrat is well versed on the country's challenging fiscal policy. In this week's interview Senator Conrad discusses the appropriations deadline, the debate over the debt ceiling, the advantages to a two-year budget and secure long term funding for the country's transportation infrastructure. Conrad says the American people should ignore some voices in the Congress,

Senator Roy Blunt - Missouri
This week's guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Roy Blunt. The Missouri Republican believes the nation is on the cusp of major decisions that could wreak havoc or provide great opportunities for growth for the nation's economy. In this week's interview, Blunt discusses Congressional challenges including uncertainty in the House Speakers post, obstacles to an agreement on spending, long term funding options for highway infrastructure and the outlook for Senate action on GMO labeling and Country of Origin Labeling.

Rep. Reid Ribble
This week's guest on Open Mic is Wisconsin Representative Reid Ribble. The 8th district Republican left the Freedom Caucus last week in the fallout from a failed attempt to elect a new House Speaker. In this week's interview, Ribble outlines challenges the Congress faces in approving a spending plan and his efforts to bring about a two-year budget cycle. He sees action soon on the nation's debt ceiling and tax extenders but says the bigger issue lies between liberal Senate Democrats and conservative GOP leaders on spending. Ribble strongly opposes the EPA's new clean water rules but supports a new voluntary program to reduce nutrient runoff in his home state.

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