This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. Serving in her freshman year in Washington, Spanberger has become a strong leader on voluntary farm conservation practices and the need for rural broadband. The Virginia representative says USMCA will benefit farms and businesses in the region she serves and offers her thoughts on the timing and consideration of the accord. Formerly serving in the Central Intelligence Agency, Spanberger sees the national security issues at stake in global trade negotiations and is leading the charge in developing a national 5G strategy.
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.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Michigan’s U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. The Senate Ag Ranking Member is leading efforts to improve the environment and create a new revenue stream for farmers and foresters. The Growing Climate Solutions Act has bipartisan support and will see companion legislation soon in the House. Stabenow sees the need for additional farm revenue assistance and says nutrition assistance must be included in a new relief plan as well as support for rural communities. With the Fall election approaching, Stabenow offers insight into a Democratic led White House for agriculture.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Representative Jim Costa. The California Democrat was pleased with last week’s Supreme Court DACA ruling and says it’s time for the Senate to take up the Farm Worker Modernization Act to ensure an adequate workforce for the nation’s food supply chain. The 16th district representative supports federal financial assistance for agriculture and says the industry should not be forced to wait for further revenue assistance. Costa shares concerns about farms and commodities that were not included in the current CFAP payments and believes nutrition assistance efforts including the Family Food Box Program should be reviewed and revised where needed. Costa applauds the work of Ambassador Bob Lighthizer and the USTR but still questions the Trump administration’s approach to global trade relations.
This week’s Open Mic guest is U.S. Representative Rick Crawford. The Arkansas 1st District Republican serves on the House Agriculture Committee as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In this interview, he shares concerns over the U.S. trade relationship with China, COVID-19 impacts on the food supply chain and federal assistance to farmers. Crawford also offers his evaluation of the nation’s transportation infrastructure and the need for additional investments.