Open Mic Replay - An Extensive Catalog of Our Audio Interviews


Carrie Calvert, Director of Tax & Commodity Policy, Feeding America
This week's guest on Open Mic is Carrie Calvert, Director of Tax and Commodity Policy at Feeding America. The United States is said to be the best fed nation on the planet, but one in seven of its residents is considered food insecure. Calvert outlines how her organization, often in partnership with public and private programs, helps bring food to those in need. Calvert discusses potential nutrition program cuts through budget reconciliation and the important links between farm and nutrition programs in a new farm bill. She also shares more ways for farmers and concerned citizens to get involved with addressing hunger in America.

USTR Ambassador Michael Froman
This week's guest on Open Mic is Ambassador Michael Froman. The Obama administration stands ready to ratify the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, but following this month's elections, congressional leaders appear unwilling to take up the multi-lateral trade deal. In this week's interview Ambassador Froman responds to critics of the plan who see trade agreements as a scapegoat for job losses instead of a stimulus for economic growth and job creation. Froman discusses the Chinese led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and outlines trade talks this week with Chinese leaders.

Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board
This week's guest on Open Mic is Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. The renewable biodiesel industry has seen much growth in production capacity and market demand, but is still short of its 2022 goal of a tenth of domestic diesel volume. This exclusive interview reveals a need for legislative attention to tax extenders, a continued call for a shift of tax benefits from producers to blenders and a desire for predictable volume standards from the EPA for biodiesel.

Jim Farrell, CEO Farmers National Company
This week's guest on Open Mic is Jim Farrell, President and CEO of Farmers National Company. With declining commodity prices, land values, and net farm income some fear a repeat of the 1980's farm crisis. In this week's interview, Farrell discusses the similarities and differences to the last great bear market, steeper declines for land prices, the potential effects of larger enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program and the growing percentage of land controlled by investors and absentee owners

Jim Blome, President & CEO Bayer CropScience LP
This week's guest on Open Mic is Jim Blome, President and CEO of Bayer CropScience LP and Head of Crop Protection for the North American region. Much attention has been given to Bayer's proposed acquisition of seed giant Monsanto. In this interview, Blome shares how the company's combined individual strengths can lead to future innovation and a structure better suited to withstand global regulatory headwinds. Blome speaks to the broader view of an industry structure, including companies both large and small, focused on developing innovation farmers need to survive and sustainably provide food for a growing planet.

Ed Hamberger, Pres. American Association of Railroads
This week's guest on Open Mic is Ed Hamberger, President and CEO of the American Association of Railroads. In this week's interview Hamberger discusses the longstanding relationships between agriculture, railroads and feeding the world. But the industry is facing economic and regulatory challenges that could negatively affect the rail industry and its customers. The AAR supports expanded global trade through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and is hopeful a new Congress can bring needed change to corporate tax laws.

Bill Buckner, Pres. Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
This week's guest on Open Mic is Bill Buckner, President and CEO of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and Board Chair for the National Soil Health Institute. In this interview, Buckner outlines a national effort to develop a standardized condition rating and testing for soil health. A standardized numeric value could help producers embrace agronomic practices, technology and cropping systems which could eventually be tied to risk protection plans and crop insurance as well as the overall value of farmland. With a common goal of advancing agriculture Buckner says the National Soil Health Institute is leading a chorus of farmers, scientists, farmers and industry toward better soil health and a stronger agriculture industry.

NASDA President Mike Strain
Just after returning from a trip to Cuba, Mike Strain, Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner and President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture tells Open Mic about the need to build stronger trade with our island neighbor and support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Following the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, Strain identifies the need for additional disaster assistance and other changes needed in a new farm bill. He also discusses the challenges of implementing federal regulations and NASDA's desire for cooperative federalism.

Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-WI
This week's guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin D-WI. As a member of both the Senate Budget Committee and the Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin isn't fond of continuing resolution spending decisions. In this week's interview, the Wisconsin Democrat talks about the pending spending decisions facing the Congress following the November elections. Wisconsin farmers faced multiple extreme weather events this year and she discusses the economic and environmental storms before her state's diverse agriculture industry. Senator Baldwin outlines recent trade challenges with Canada and her thoughts on pending multilateral trade proposals including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment negotiations with Europe. Plus, she is leading a new effort to get the Office of Management and Budget to help dairy producers.

Sterling Liddell, Sr. VP, Rabo AgriFinance
This week's guest on Open Mic is Sterling Liddell, Senior Vice President for Rabo AgriFinance and Rabobank International in its Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory group. Discussion on a new farm bill has begun across the country and in Washington with calls to get an early start on new policy. Some analysts believe the nation is on the verge of another farm crisis. In this interview, Sterling Liddell offers evidence of financial stress he sees growing on crop farms and highlights factors indicating a significant paradigm shift he believes farmers will have to traverse to survive the economic downturn. Liddell believes the Conservation Reserve Program needs to be revised to help manage crop acres and reduce land costs on marginal acres.

John Weber, Pres. NPPC
This week's guest on Open Mic is John Weber, President of the National Pork Producers Council. Congressional decisions on trade and market direction in the next 60 days will set the course for the future of the U.S. swine industry. Weber, an Iowa pork producer, explains how market access to the participating countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is critical to the profitability of the nation's hog farmers. Weber also discusses the impact of domestic and global consolidation in the swine industry. And, with discussion beginning on a the next farm bill, Weber points to his association's top priorities for the new language including disease management and producer risk protection.

Rep. Steve King
This week's guest on Open Mic is U.S. Representative Steve King. Fresh from a five week tour of the fourth district, King identifies the top concern among farmers and business leaders alike. King is keeping a watchful eye for debate on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and says despite mounting congressional opposition, the U.S. should not give up on the ideals of the global accord even if negotiations must take other forms. The Iowa Republican shares his view of expanded trade with Cuba and a conservative view of revamping the nation's immigration policy. King believes the cyclical swing in farm income may bring increased participation and views in writing a new farm bill.

Dan Oh, Pres. and CEO
This week's guest on Open Mic is Dan Oh, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Renewable Energy Group. In this week's interview, learn how an Iowa cooperative expanded its quest to grow the value of soybean oil into a business with a global presence of producing not only renewable fuel, but renewable chemicals, as well as, a host of other products. Oh supports the nation's renewable energy policy but says the industry deserves a more routine, regular effort in decision making. This informative program focuses on a discussion on the value of RIN credits, the advantage of producer tax credits, crude oil prices and the new frontier of renewable chemicals.

Leif Magnusson, Chair AEM
This week's guest on Open Mic is Leif Magnusson, President of CLAAS Global Sales Americas and the 2016 Chair of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. This interview includes the status of an industry bearing the burden of a significant fall in US net farm income and the equipment manufacturers' perspective on global trade agreements. AEM supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and Magnusson shares possible consequences of a failure to ratify the trade pact. Magnusson addresses the crucial connections between the need to develop rural infrastructure, maintaining manufacturing jobs in the country and keeping US agriculture competitive.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack
This week's guest on Open Mic is U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In this interview, Secretary Vilsack discusses the current cyclical swing in farm income and the policy decision Washington must consider to protect the nation's farms and ranches. Vilsack says congressional leaders must consider "need" over budget when considering the next farm bill. While the Trans-Pacific Partnership remains a priority for the Obama administration, Vilsack discusses options to secure congressional support for the deal and defines the ominous challenge of writing regulations to implement the nation's biotech disclosure law.

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