This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Mike Rounds. The former South Dakota governor is well aware of the challenges 2019 has presented growers in his state including too much rain, lost markets, and ethanol demand destruction from the EPA’s implementation of the RFS. Rounds offers praise for the farm bill’s risk management tools and trade assistance from the White House and shares concern for a lack of conclusion to the USMCA trade deal. Rounds offers insight into his legislation on meat labeling laws and other challenges coming within the food industry.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Julie Anna Potts, president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute. Few segments of the food industry were forced to adapt as quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic to meet consumer demand as members of the North American Meat Institute. Now, Potts says, the meat industry is looking forward to a new normal and embracing new challenges including a court challenge to California’s Proposition 12 ballot initiative that threatens to wreak havoc on interstate commerce of meat. Potts says resolving labor issues remains a top priority for the meat industry as well as securing the safety of their existing workers from COVID-19.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Corey Rosenbusch, president and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute. The United States accounts for a little over a tenth of the global nutrient market while maintaining a leading producer of agriculture products in the globe. Rosenbusch says fertilizer prices have moved higher into the U.S. planting season, but supplies are adequate to meet farmer demand for this year’s crops. Rosenbusch says TFI is keeping an eye on upcoming infrastructure legislation as well as climate policy that could influence farmer’s nutrient management plans.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. As a member of the House Committee on Agriculture and chairwoman of the General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee, Bustos is encouraged by President Joe Biden’s commitment to agriculture, renewable fuels, climate and rural issues. The Illinois Democrat says the 117th Congress has work to do to win the support of rural voters but believes members of the Biden cabinet, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, can help to generate momentum. Bustos is hopeful diplomacy can yield better trade relations with China, Europe and Cuba and is hopeful for new opportunities with the U.K. and other developing nations of the world. Bustos says climate will be an underlying theme in nearly all policies approved in Washington this year.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Barron Segar, president and CEO of the World Food Program USA. In a week where the nation celebrates the productivity of the nation’s farms and ranches, the focus of this interview is the daunting challenge of the millions of men, women and children that are malnourished and regions where famine is a looming threat. The United Nations World Food Programme was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to feed the hungry. While donations, government support and corporate partnerships have grown- human conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change continue to challenge millions each day.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Dave Puglia, president and CEO of Western Growers. Few industries have been challenged more than produce growers and shippers during the COVID pandemic. In addition to “senseless regulation,” challenges from reduced water supplies and a lack of adequate labor, Puglia says some growers are looking outside the U.S. for opportunities to raise crops. Puglia says he’s optimistic the Biden administration and the 117th Congress will finally address a shortage of available workers and hopes federal and state officials can come to terms with water regulations that balance the needs of agriculture, the environment and metropolitan areas.