Balanced Reporting. Trusted Insights. Monday, April 23, 2018

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
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USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey

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04-22-2018
This week’s guest on Open Mic is USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey. After an extended delay from nomination to confirmation, Northey, a fourth generation farmer and three term Secretary of Agriculture for his home state is on the job in Washington guiding the USDA’s efforts for farm production and conservation programs. Northey discusses Secretary Perdue’s reorganized plan for department programming and how the consolidation will impact farm customers and county offices across the country. Northey outlines the department’s efforts to upgrade technology to expand ways farmers can interact with Washington and his goals for better coordination among government agencies.

Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway

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04-15-2018
This week’s guest on Open Mic is House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway. As his committee plans to markup the 2018 farm bill proposal on Wednesday, the Chairman shares thoughts on the politics and the key provisions in the draft proposal including proposed SNAP revisions, conservation programs, and adjustments to Title 1. The Texas Republican also discusses the Trump administration’s trade agenda and trusts USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to provide protection to potential trade retaliation from global trading partners. Conaway says the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard is unworkable and needs amendments by both the White House and Congress.

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.

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04-08-2018
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson. A House Ag impasse on nutrition policy has delayed policy markup of the new farm bill. In this interview, Ranking Member Collin Peterson offers insight to the minority pushback on Chairman Conaway’s draft proposal and other challenges a divided committee may bring to farm policy consideration. Peterson is skeptical of President Trump’s trade strategy and has strong words for potential administrative changes to the nation’s renewable fuel policy. Peterson explains his proposal to amend the Conservation Reserve Program and why other ag leaders should be on board.

Ray Starling, Special Asst. to the President for Agriculture

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04-01-2018
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Ray Starling, Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Trade and Food Assistance. With a rich career demonstrating a strong advocacy for agriculture, North Carolina native Starling finds himself in the middle of critical decisions over global trade, renewable fuels, and future farm policy. Starling shares industry concerns over possible Chinese trade retaliation and understands the levity of a pending White House decision on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Starling says the report from the President’s Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity is a road map for the White House goals for rural America.

Senator Pat Roberts, Chair Senate Ag Committee

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03-25-2018
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Pat Roberts from Kansas. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Roberts acknowledges the “rough patch” farmers and ranchers are in and the need for a timely approval of a bipartisan new farm bill. The Kansas Republican discusses the Trump administration trade agenda and possible government reaction to lost export sales. Roberts is paying close attention to administrative action on the Renewable Fuels Standard and does support efforts to protect the nation’s livestock herd from infectious diseases.

Dr. Jayson Lusk, Head of the Agriculture Economics Department at Purdue University

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03-18-2018
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Dr. Jayson Lusk, Distinguished Professor and Head of the Agriculture Economics Department at Purdue University. With heightened debate on food and farm policy surrounding the development of a new farm bill, Dr. Lusk offers challenging insight about the relationship between political persuasion and food, work requirements for SNAP recipients and evolving preferences in meat consumption.