Open Mic Replay - An Extensive Catalog of Our Audio Interviews


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.

John Keeling, Exec. VP, National Potato Council
This week's guest on Open Mic is John Keeling, Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Potato Council. In many ways, the nation's potato growers opposed the biotech disclosure bill recently signed into law by President Obama. John Keeling voices grower concern over the country's shift in labeling philosophy and ideas on future litigation and legislation on food labels. In this week's interview you'll hear what this group of specialty crop growers want from a new farm bill and their thoughts of separating nutrition and farm policy. With a fifth of domestic production shipped to global markets, Keeling shares concern over negative comments on global trade from the campaign trail and why the NPC supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
This week's guest on Open Mic is U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, who serves the 2nd District of Massachusetts and is a member of the House Agriculture and Rules Committees. McGovern believes food is an important tool to enhance U.S. national security and says farmers and consumers can both benefit from meaningful food and nutrition programs like SNAP. As ranking member on the nutrition sub-committee, McGovern believes additional spending on nutrition programs could save government spending on health care over the longer-term. McGovern says he eats foods with GMOs but criticizes the recently approved mandatory biotech disclosure legislation and shares why he is no fan of current or pending trade deals.

Tom Sleight, President U.S. Grains Council
This week's guest on Open Mic is Tom Sleight, President and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. On the sidelines of the group's summer meeting last week in Louisville, Sleight was optimistic about market growth for not only bulk commodities but for "feed grains in all forms" including ethanol, DDGS, and meat. Sleight counters much of the "trade bashing" that's been taking place on the presidential campaign trail, pointing out that the U.S. has lost more jobs to technology than to trade. He also makes the case that trade agreements build opportunities for industry and farmers as well as build relationships between nations.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-MN
This week's Open Mic guest is U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. As the nation's political focus turns to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia this week, the agriculture industry awaits what role farm, trade, nutrition and rural issues will play in the party platform. In this week's interview, Senator Klobuchar challenges suggestions that nutrition programs be separated from the farm bill, discusses the need for global trade and offers specific reasons why the Cuban embargo must be lifted. The Minnesota Democrat is a member of the recently formed Rural Broadband Coalition and has joined other congressional leaders challenging the EPA's preliminary volume obligation targets under the RFS. Senator Klobuchar offers thoughts on the process that brought mandatory biotech disclosure legislation and what role that may play in future debate on Capitol Hill.

Pam Bailey, President of GMA
This week's guest on Open Mic is Pam Bailey, President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. After months of hard fought debate over GMO food labels, standalone biotech disclosure legislation was approved by the U.S. Congress and will soon be signed into law by President Obama. Pam Bailey discusses how the labeling debate began and the challenges state labeling laws presented to interstate commerce. Bailey says GMA members are committed to providing the information consumers want and shares how digital disclosure will meet the needs of today's modern shopper.

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