Open Mic Replay - An Extensive Catalog of Our Audio Interviews


Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA - Rural Broadband Assoc.
This week's guest on Open Mic is Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association. The Federal Communications Commission followed last year's designation of broadband as a utility with additional support for internet service providers to bring communications to a larger section of rural America. In this week's interview, Bloomfield discusses the complicated decisions involved with providing greater broadband access to farmers, rural businesses, schools, hospitals and more. But big questions remain on who supports those new revenue streams and if funding caps will allow companies to maintain affordable service for rural residents.

Kendal Frazier, CEO of National Cattlemen's Beef Assoc.
This week's guest on Open Mic features Kendal Frazier, CEO of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. In this informative interview, Frazier responds to the challenges presented by the EPA's WOTUS rules and how new ozone standards can be a detriment to land management. On trade, Frazier says the TPP agreement must be ratified by Congress to maintain markets and gain access to the globe's growing middle class. Frazier shares thoughts on a voluntary COOL proposal, the need for congressional action on endangered species laws and the ongoing effort with the CME group to address market volatility.

Paul Johnson, Co-Chair U.S. Ag Coalition for Cuba
This week's guest on Open Mic is Paul Johnson, co-chair of the U.S. Ag Coalition for Cuba. President Obama's historical trip to Havana last week was another step in the administration's effort to normalize relations between the U.S. and our closest Communist neighbor to the south. In this interview, Johnson says Cuban policy is no longer somebody else's issue. Johnson believes Cuban trade policy has implications throughout Latin America and says Secretary Vilsack has changed the game toward better relations between the two countries and in establishing new market opportunities between the two sides.

Senator John Thune- SD
This week's guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator John Thune. In this interview, the South Dakota Republican shares his frustration with the chamber's failure to craft a national voluntary labeling bill for foods that contain ingredients from genetically enhanced crops. Senator Thune points attention to the role the minority must play in bringing the issue to a successful conclusion. Thune also addresses President Obama's plan to cut crop insurance funding and questions the administration's commitment to seeing congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. While Senator Thune supports additional trade with Cuba, he has reservations about the steps President Obama has taken to normalize trading between the two countries.

Rod Snyder, President, Field to Market
This week's guest on Open Mic is Rod Snyder, President of Field to Market. With nearly 100 members and growth in active projects, sourcing programs and participating acres, the alliance for sustainable agriculture is answering consumer calls for transparency in food production. In this interview, Snyder discusses how the food production industry is placing greater emphasis on sustainability and responds to calls for federal standards to define sustainable agriculture.

John Bode, Pres. Corn Refiners Association
This week's guest on Open Mic is John Bode, CEO and President of the Corn Refiners Association, who talks about the chaos, confusion and higher food costs that could result if Vermont's GMO labeling law goes into effect July 1. Senate Agriculture leaders are wrestling with a path forward to preempt the law with a new federal labeling standard. In this timely interview, Bode offers results of a study measuring the per household cost of state mandated labels. Bode offers the Corn Refiners view of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and suggests needed change in how the federal government develops federal nutrition policy.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
This week's guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who shares make or break provisions of the GMO labeling bill scheduled for consideration this week. The North Dakota Democrat sees the food labeling debate as another opportunity to consider a voluntary Country-of-Origin Labeling program for meat. She also talks about currency manipulation and expanded trade opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Heitkamp favors expanded trade with Cuba and has introduced legislation to allow private financing for commodities. She's concerned about attacks to current farm programs and has begun policy discussions on the next farm bill, with a focus on research and rural development.

Richard Wilkins
This week's Open Mic guest is Richard Wilkins, President of the American Soybean Association. In this week's interview, Wilkins discusses how the vacancy on the Supreme Court may affect the Obama administration's environmental policy, the soybean farmer's view of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, whether or not the new farm bill protects farmers during times of lower crop prices and the ASA's view of proposed cuts to crop insurance. Wilkins says the clock is ticking for Congress to address a nationwide biotech food labeling law and looks forward to Senate Agriculture Committee action later this week.

Jim Walker, Vice President of Case IH North America Agriculture Division
This week's guest on Open Mic is Jim Walker, Vice President of Case IH North America Agriculture Division and Chair of the Ag Sector Board for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. A progressive downturn in net farm income has brought a significant decline in the equipment industry. In this interview Walker tells Agri-Pulse he expects further declines but says advances in technology will fuel future sales as farmers strive for both efficiency and sustainability. Walker says new tax policy will benefit both farmers and equipment manufacturers. Walker sees some areas for compromise on farm programs but not for risk protection from crop insurance.

Zippy Duvall, Pres. AFBF
This week's Open Mic Guest is the new President of the American Farm Bureau Federation Zippy Duvall. As a representative of the nation's largest general farm organization, Duvall says it's important for the farm and rural voice to be heard on the national and local level. In this interview Duvall speaks to the industry's ongoing battle to stop the EPA's Waters of the US regulations, the need for a national voluntary labeling law and the challenging plight of the cotton industry. Duvall says the AFBF is still evaluating the text of the TPP but is ready to join the fight for greater access to global markets.

Greg Ibach - President NASDA
This week's guest on Open Mic is Greg Ibach, President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. The group begins their 100th anniversary celebration with their winter policy forum this week in Washington. In this interview Ibach shares the group's hope for increased trade opportunities with the Trans Pacific Partnership trade accord, their concern for pollinator health and for over reach by the EPA with WOTUS regulations. While safe food is a top priority for farmers and government, Ibach says NASDA has reservations regarding implementation of the Food Safety Moderization Act.

Jean Ronnei - President School Nutrition Assn.
This week's guest on Open Mic is Jean Ronnei, President of the School Nutrition Association. The Senate Agriculture Committee took the first step toward school nutrition reauthorization last week with a bipartisan compromise on critical reform issues. Jean Ronnei says the legislation addresses both hunger and nutrition. Ronnei shares her concerns over declining student participation and funding for school nutrition as well as hope that proposed reforms can help districts provide healthy and tasty foods that students want to eat

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

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