Open Mic Replay - An Extensive Catalog of Our Audio Interviews


Senator John Hoeven
Our guest on Open Mic is US Senator John Hoeven. As a strong advocate for agriculture and rural issues, the North Dakota Republican supports enhanced global trade and opposes government regulatory overreach. In this interview, Hoeven discusses his plan for providing flexibility for school nutrition standards and thoughts for providing funding for a long term highway bill.

Senator Dick Durbin
This week's guest on Open Mic is Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin. The Illinois Democrat sees promise in the opening weeks of the 114th Congress. Senator Durbin says more open floor debate may lead to compromise on complex issues including trade and nutrition, however, he believes tax reform and immigration may be too divisive for this Congress to resolve. During this in-depth interview, he also offers interesting perspective on crop insurance, estate taxes, GMO labeling, the Renewable Fuel Standard and the EPA.

Senator Mitch McConnell
Our guest on Open Mic this week is U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Congressional leaders return to Washington this week with an agenda bordered by trade, appropriations and a pushback against overregulation. The Kentucky Republican sees opportunity to work with the Obama administration on Trade Promotion Authority and cyber-security legislation, but expects push back over regulations that GOP leaders will try to repeal through a series of policy riders on appropriations bills.

Senator Jerry Moran
Our guest on Open Mic this week is U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee dealing with agriculture, rural development, the Food and Drug Administration and related agencies. The Kansas Republican expects challenges to new farm programs and crop insurance this year but says the largest threat to U.S. farms and ranches is the regulatory environment in Washington. In this wide-ranging interview, Moran discusses Country of Origin Labeling law, dietary guidelines, trade with Cuba and prospects for passage of Trade Promotion Authority.

Rep. Mike Pompeo- Kansas
The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act has been introduced by GOP Congressman Mike Pompeo. On this week's edition of Open Mic, the Kansas 4th District Representative discusses a national voluntary labeling program that balances the consumer's right to know what's in the food they eat with the industry's need to embrace technology to satisfy the world's growing demand for food. He also talks about the EPA's proposed rule on waters of the U.S.

Jim Walker, VP Case IH
Our guest on Open Mic this week is Jim Walker, Vice President of Case IH North America Agricultural Division. Ag equipment manufacturers were able to overcome the costs of research and development to meet Tier 4 emission standards during an upswing in crop prices and net farm income. Now with discussion of Tier 5 standards, Walker believes legislators should measure the costs and incremental benefits of even tighter emission standards. Walker says a more predictable tax code and relief from estate taxes would help farmers and the agriculture equipment industry weather the downturn in commodity prices.

Senator Pat Roberts
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts is featured on this Agriculture Week edition of Open Mic. As an overseer of ag policy, Roberts plans upcoming hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the U.S. definition, Cuban trade policy, and crop insurance. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Roberts is working toward possible revisions of the US tax code as well as Trade Promotion Authority for the Obama Administration. Listen in to learn more.

Roger Johnson
Our guest on Open Mic is National Farmers Union President, Roger Johnson. As the group prepares for their 2015 convention, Johnson shares his support for current farm bill and opposes any attempt to return to open policy debate. NFU members oppose Trade Promotion Authority for the Obama Administration, but support liberalizing trade with Cuba. Johnson and the NFU are strong supporters of Country of Origin Labeling policy and don't believe Canadian trade retaliation is imminent. The NFU stepped away from the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group and Johnson says he's certain the NFU won't support the current memorandum of understanding being circulated by the group.

Ambassador Darci Vetter
In this week's Open Mic, Ambassador Darci Vetter, Chief Agriculture Negotiator with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, provides an update on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPA) negotiations, as well as the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks. Vetter says the nation's agriculture industry cannot afford to be isolated from the other ninety-five percent of the globe's population or growth in its middle class. Support from farmers and ranchers will be crucial in advancing an ambitious trade agenda, she adds.

Senator Amy Klobuchar
The legislative effort to end the US Trade Embargo with Cuba has begun with bipartisan legislation introduced by Minnesota's senior U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. The 'Freedom to Export to Cuba' bill would eliminate the trade embargo in place for more than 50 years. In this week's Open Mic, Sen. Klobuchar explains why policy changes in Cuba and the construction of a new port facility make the time right to turn the page on U.S. trade policy toward the communist island nation.

David Lynn
Farmers are facing a cyclical turn in the industry with a period of lower crop prices, reduced net farm income and a likely increase in interest rates.This week's guest on Open Mic is David Lynn, Senior Vice-President for Financial Services with Farm Credit Mid-America. Lynn believes the industry is better prepared than in years past to weather the financial downturn. Lynn says farmers are more dependent on crop insurance than ever before and he fears program changes could put more farmers at risk. Lynn believes the uncertain US tax code is a challenge for farmers and says commercial ag lenders would be better served to look for ways to work together to serve rural communities than challenging a lending institution that operates under strict guidelines from the federal government.

Krysta Harden
USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden says it is critical for the government to provide a reasonable safety net for farmers, but that all programs- including crop insurance and conservation - must be scrutinized as part of the annual budget process. She shares her perspectives on farm bill implementation, USDA's budget plan for 2016, and the importance of giving President Obama fast track authority to expand trade. Harden says the USDA will soon release its definition of actively engaged in farming with intent to have the policy in place for the 2016 crop year after an open comment period.

Philip Seng, Pres. and CEO USMEF
International trade can be a gold mine for beef and pork producers as well as the grain growers they rely on for feed. However, U.S. red meat exports are challenged from lower domestic production and the rising value of the U.S. dollar. In this week's Open Mic in-depth interview, Philip Seng, President and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation, says the value, quality and consistency of the US product has helped the industry maintain and expand its place in the globe - despite tough competition from places like Australia and the European Union. Seng says over the next decade Asia will be home to 65 percent of the world's middle class and that's another reason to concentrate on global trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership.

House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway
As Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee in the 114th Congress, Mike Conaway has revised the subcommittee structure to allow for closer policy oversight and careful attention to reauthorization of nutrition programs and futures trading. In his first audio interview on ag issues this year, Conaway covers a wide variety of topics. He expects congressional action on immigration policy but isn't sure tax reform will be a part of the early congressional agenda. The Texas Republican says the budget process will dominate the early days of the new congress and expects budget reconciliation to play a major role in policy reform and debate. Conaway says the government must respect industry investments made within the Renewable Fuels Standard but questions overall volumes.

Senator John Thune-SD
South Dakota U.S. Senator John Thune believes even a divided government can be successful. After meeting with other GOP leaders at the White House last week, Thune believes the 114th Congress can work with the Obama administration on both trade cyber security and national security. Thune says a revision to the nation's tax code is possible but the executive and legislative branches of government are obviously at odds over the Keystone Pipeline and Obamacare. Senator Thune didn't agree with every provision of the new farm bill and says some supports may be difficult to defend if producers allow policy to dictate planting decisions.

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