This week’s guest on Open Mic is Rod Hebrink, President and CEO of Compeer Financial. Farmers have spent much of 2019 hoping for better markets, trade agreements and certainly weather. Hebrink says the current farm economy may show similarities to the 1980s, but the financial state of the industry as a whole is much different. Hebrink says government risk management tools and trade assistance have been a lifeline for many operations, but the industry desperately needs open markets and better prices into the new crop year.
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.
This week’s Open Mic Guest is Rep. Chellie Pingree. As a member of the House Committees on Agriculture and Appropriations, the Maine Democrat has played an integral role in Washington’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this interview, Pingree discusses policy that has been effective and response efforts that need to be amended to include more people from all regions of the country. Pingree believes agriculture has an important role to play in the nation’s response to climate change and that food waste is an issue that should more attention in the writing of the next farm bill.