Balanced Reporting. Trusted Insights. Monday, September 21, 2020

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
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Ambassador Kip Tom, U.S. mission to UN Food and Agriculture agencies

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03-01-2020
This week's Open Mic guest is Ambassador Kip Tom, the leader of the U.S. efforts at the United Nations Food and Agriculture agencies in Rome. The Indiana farmer has a keen eye on the use of innovation to improve the conditions of smallholder farmers around the world, but is concerned about opposition to new technologies in food and agriculture. Tom says American producers should be invested in the work of the FAO and explains what he sees as the biggest challenges facing FAO and the global effort to fight hunger.

Mark Stewart, President & CEO AFA

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09-20-2020
This week’s Open Mic guest is Mark Stewart, President and CEO of Agriculture Future of America. Following the vision of the Kemper Family of Kansas City, an agriculture youth development organization was born in 1996 to help in the evolution of future ag leaders and to support their spirit of entrepreneurship. Today, Stewart says that same vision has expanded to over 200 college campuses and 150 different agriculture majors. As the group celebrates 24 years, it plans to continue working on developing human capital, addressing racial diversity and aligning academic programs with employer needs. Stewart says the organization brings people together to build bridges and tries to entice young people to find their personal mission and find pathways for feeding the world more sustainably.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

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09-13-2020
This week’s Open Mic guest is Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The Minnesota Democrat may have failed in her attempt for the Oval Office but remains a staunch supporter of agriculture and rural America. In this interview, Klobuchar offers thoughts on the nation’s economy and what’s essential in any new COVID relief measure including support for farmers and small businesses as well as state and local governments. Klobuchar speaks to challenges remaining with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the biofuel industry, broadband and nutrition assistance programs.

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.

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09-06-2020
This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo. A year ago, Missouri’s 4th District struggled with massive flooding and now is mired in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other rural communities in the nation, Hartzler says nearly every facet of their economy has been beset with adversity from the virus. Hartzler supports another round of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program support for farmers and ranchers and has appealed to USDA officials to assist commodities that she feels weren’t equitably compensated in the first round of assistance. Hartzler supports legislation that would allow USDA to provide funds to segments of the ag industry that have yet to see financial support. Hartzler supports the Farms to Families Food Box Program and believes growth in global trade agreements is the best way to help farmers overcome the COVID crisis.

ASTA President and CEO Andy LaVigne

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08-30-2020
This week’s Open Mic guest is Andy LaVigne, president and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association. Many believe consumers have a new appreciation for farmers and the overall food supply chain following the COVID-19 pandemic. While the world hopes science delivers an answer to the disease, some of those same consumers push back against new seed innovation that can lead to a more secure food supply. In this interview, LaVigne discusses challenges the industry faces with new trade agreements and an influx of dollars being invested in the food and ag sector. He reports on the “mystery seed” packages and outlines how governments and consumers can help farmers achieve sustainability and food production goals.

Tom Stenzel, United Fresh Produce Association

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08-23-2020
This week’s Open Mic guest is Tom Stenzel, President and CEO at United Fresh Produce Association. Specialty crop growers have faced a number of challenges in adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stenzel says his members are hopeful for financial assistance but also liability protection from a new relief package from Washington. A disruption of the traditional supply chain is just one of many obstacles his growers face on top of a shortage of farm workers and dwindling water supplies. United Fresh Supports the Farm to Family Food Box program and shares a different view than other growers of the USMCA trade agreement.