This week’s guest on Open Mic is Illinois 17th District Representative Cheri Bustos. With strong family ties to agriculture, the Illinois Democrat serves as a member of both the House Agriculture and Appropriations Committees. In this interview, Bustos shares concerns about the trade war with China and its “generational effects” on farmers in her district and across the country. Bustos says the Trump EPA’s administration of the RFS is deplorable and an “abomination of how it was set up”. Bustos recently offered her “Rural Green Partnership” to the House Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. The plan includes agriculture as a valuable tool in the battle against climate change.
This week’s Open Mic Guest is Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes. The nearly century-old company has recently formed a multi-year partnership with Microsoft and has helped to form a new coalition to lobby Washington for increased access to broadband in rural communities. Recognizing a lack of healthcare in rural communities and a lack of investment in technology for schools, Ford says the digital divide isn’t a rural issue, it is an American issue. Ford says Land O’ Lakes is working to provide data-rich insights to help farmers achieve improvements in profitability and sustainability.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Dr. Gary Adams, President and CEO of the National Cotton Council. A trade dispute with China and the COVID-19 pandemic have wrought tremendous economic disparity on not only cotton farmers, but the sum of their supporting industry. The closing of retail outlets has plummeted consumer clothing purchases. With all eyes on the next round of financial aid, Adams says federal support is key to helping the industry survive until market demand is restored. Adams says sustainability is a top priority for NCC and says they’re hopeful for a new EPA label for Dicamba for the 2021 growing season.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Dr. Barbara Glenn, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. State ag leaders have renewed their call for federal assistance to respond to the needs of farmers, ranchers and rural communities in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The group is also calling for expanded rural broadband coverage, the expansion of domestic and global markets and worker protection standards. She reports on efforts to expand meat processing and discusses the opportunities and challenges of the infant U.S. hemp industry.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Mike Frank, executive vice president and CEO of retail at Nutrien. In the midst of a challenging ag economy, Nutrien continues to expand retail outlets and acquire companies while expanding products and services for their customers. Frank says the company’s growth is founded on finding agronomic and financial solutions for its customers. He believes revenue from carbon sequestration will soon find its way to the farm gate. As a company, Frank says they share common requests with farmers from Washington including open trade, access to technology and expanded rural broadband.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest in economic challenges for the nation’s farmers and ranchers. Duvall offers his gratitude for administrative and legislative assistance for agriculture but shares that the economic threat to the nation’s food supply is far from over. He offers thoughts for additional assistance as the U.S. Senate prepares to consider another round of financial assistance for the nation. The Georgia farmer shares thoughts on challenges faced by the renewable fuels industry as well as trade challenges that remain with Canada and Mexico even after implementation of the USMCA.