Balanced Reporting. Trusted Insights. Sunday, February 28, 2021

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
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Open Mic: Rep. Jim Costa, D-Ca

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Duration:
06-21-2020
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.

ASA CEO Steve Censky

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02-21-2021
This week’s Open Mic guest is Steve Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association. After serving as USDA Deputy Secretary in the Trump administration, Censky is back in St. Louis serving the nation’s soybean farmers. Censky is encouraged with the nomination of Tom Vilsack to return as Ag Secretary and is confident with other names that will assume leadership roles at USDA and the Biden cabinet. Sustainability has long since been a focus of ASA and Censky says soybean farmers are encouraged about the opportunity to participate in the nation’s climate debate. Censky says ASA is ready to work with the Biden team on global trade opportunities and the nation’s energy policy and renewable fuels.

Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall

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Duration:
02-14-2021
This week’s Open Mic Guest is Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The Georgia farmer spent time at a socially distanced county president’s conference in Kentucky last week. On the sidelines of the event, Duvall shared his thoughts on the pending debate about climate policy and agriculture’s efforts in sustainability. Duvall reflects on conversations with Ag Secretary Nominee Tom Vilsack and EPA Administrator Nominee Michael Regan. Duvall is hopeful the Biden trade team will work diligently to keep trade flowing with China, consider joining the other nations of the CPTPP and find a meaningful trade deal with the U.K. He remains adamant that Washington find a solution to the ag labor crisis and is hopeful a solution could come with this Congress and administration.

Chuck Conner, NCFC

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Duration:
02-07-2021
This week’s Open Mic guest is Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. The group’s annual meeting will be virtual this week with no shortage of topics to embrace for the new year. Conner says the group is hopeful the Biden administration will reconsider tax changes offered in the last hour by the previous administration and that legislators will be willing to embrace much-needed changes to immigration reform. Conner expects antagonists to use the upcoming climate debate to attack livestock producers but believes agriculture has enough positive evidence to win the day. Conner offers comments on using the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation to facilitate a carbon bank and the need for global market diversification.

Emily Skor, Growth Energy

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Duration:
01-31-2021
This week’s Open Mic guest is Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. The nation’s ethanol industry was already in a state of financial stress before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation and sharply reduced demand for liquid motor fuels. In this interview, Skor discusses the challenges from the Trump administration’s approval of small refinery exemptions and the need for investment in retail infrastructure to meet consumer demand for fuels with higher ethanol blends. Recent studies support higher ethanol blends will help achieve climate goals for the U.S. and for global customers.

Tom Halverson, CoBank

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Duration:
01-24-2021
This week’s Open Mic guest is Tom Halverson, president and CEO of CoBank. The balance of debt stocks of U.S. farmers has grown during the downturn in the overall farm economy, but thankfully, the load of debt service has been eased by the tailwinds of increased global trade and higher commodity prices as well as very low interest rates. CoBank’s Halverson expects borrowing rates to remain low and farm income to improve as global commodity stocks remain tight in the near future. Halverson is hopeful the Biden administration will pursue an aggressive global trade strategy and says the ag industry must be prepared to defend its position as part of the solution in any climate policy.