Open Mic Replay - An Extensive Catalog of Our Audio Interviews

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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.

Jim Mulhern, President of NMPF
This week's Open Mic guest is Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.The dairy industry has turned sour as the NMPF celebrates its 100th anniversary, but dairy farmers have high hopes for new policy and greater global market access. In this interview, the dairy industry veteran discusses the challenges farmers face despite an amended federal dairy policy. Mulhern sees no guarantee of a new farm bill and says debate over biotech disclosure legislation could be a precursor to upcoming debate over food and farm policy. Mulhern says the outcome of the 2016 election will set a definitive course for agriculture for the future of the dairy industry.

Representative Mike Pompeo
This week's guest is Representative Mike Pompeo. The Kansas Republican served an integral role in developing his chamber's version of national GMO food labeling policy. Pompeo says it's time for congress to act and get the government out of the business of mandating labeling for inherently safe items. In this week's interview, Pompeo discusses the Senate's biotech disclosure proposal and the path that language might find in the House. Pompeo shares his view on global trade in response to the position of the leading candidates for the White House, ideas on the Renewable Fuel Standard beyond 2022 and the need for improvements in the nation's transportation infrastructure.

Wholesome Wave CEO Michel Nischan
This week's guest on Open Mic is Michel Nischan, CEO and Founder of Wholesome Wave, and an award-winning chef. The USDA announced a second amount of funding for the nonprofit to expand its healthy food initiative into areas of Connecticut and Vermont. The $500,000 was awarded through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program, enabling SNAP program participants to buy more locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. The program means better nutrition for consumers and increased opportunities for local farmers. In this interview, Chef Nischan shares his vision for the power of food to improve personal health, his thoughts on improving diets with fresh as well as frozen vegetables, and his ideas for the future of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Todd Van Hoose, CEO and President Farm Credit Council
This week's guest on Open Mic is Todd Van Hoose, CEO and President of the Farm Credit Council. As the Farm Credit System celebrates its centennial this year, Todd Van Hoose says he's humbled by the achievements over the past century and excited about the opportunities in the next 100 years. In this week's interview Van Hoose discusses the troubled spots the industry is facing and says increased demands for government secured loans is a symptom of the challenges some farmers are facing. Van Hoose shares thoughts on the significance of the nation's crop insurance program, CFTC reform, the need for global trade and challenges the Farm Credit System continues to see from the community banking industry.

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam-UC Davis
This week's guest on Open Mic is Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, a genomics and biotechnology researcher at the University of California, Davis. Her work in animal breeding was inspired by Dr. Norman Borlaug's efforts to resolve hunger issues with genetically engineered plants. Van Eenennaam believes science has been left out of the debate over how foods should be labeled saying nutritional benefits are more important than how ingredients from plant varieties were bred. Van Eenennaam notes a difference in society's acceptance of biotechnology in medicine versus that in food production where genetic engineering may provide the only sustainable solution to feeding a growing planet.

Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam-UC Davis
This week's guest on Open Mic is Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, a genomics and biotechnology researcher at the University of California, Davis. Her work in animal breeding was inspired by Dr. Norman Borlaug's efforts to resolve hunger issues with genetically engineered plants. Van Eenennaam believes science has been left out of the debate over how foods should be labeled saying nutritional benefits are more important than how ingredients from plant varieties were bred. Van Eenennaam notes a difference in society's acceptance of biotechnology in medicine versus that in food production where genetic engineering may provide the only sustainable solution to feeding a growing planet.

John Weber, President NPPC
This week's guest on Open Mic is John Weber, President of the National Pork Producers Council. In this interview, Weber speaks to opportunities and challenges on the horizon for the nation's swine industry. While global demand for protein, especially pork, continues to grow, Weber and members of the NPPC adamantly support the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement to grant greater market access to growth markets. At home, Weber says pork producers face challenges from the USDA's pending GIPSA proposal, the EPA on WOTUS rules, the country's preparedness to infectious animal disease, the industry's effort to further reduce antibiotics in swine production and a domestic inventory that could soon meet or exceed the nation's slaughter capacity.

Carl Casale, Pres. and CEO CHS, Inc.
This week's guest on Open Mic is Carl Casale, President and CEO of CHS Inc. The cyclical pendulum has brought the ag industry from record highs to lows not seen since the early 1980's. In this week's interview, Carl Casale shares a view that the industry hasn't yet seen the bottom of the income swing. Despite the current challenge, Casale shares a bright view for the next generation of the industry with tremendous turnover in producer demographics. Casale says CHS is pro-trade but believes the U.S. must step up spending on infrastructure to stay competitive.

Chris Novak - CEO National Corn Growers Assn.
This week's guest on Open Mic is Chris Novak, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. In this week's interview, Novak shares the global vision of the NCGA's most recent strategic planning process and the Washington legislative agenda including continued work on a national GMO food labeling standard. He also reacts to negative opinions on global trade from the campaign trail and shares why the Renewable Fuel Standard is about giving consumers better environmental choices and not limiting the auto industry's choices to meet new economic and environmental standards.



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