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 Andy LaVigne, President and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association. For almost a century and a half members of ASTA have worked to improve seed genetics for farmers around the world. LaVigne says opportunities to advance seed genetics are improving with the advent of genetic modification and gene editing. The limitation includes that of consumer acceptance and government approval. LaVigne says consumer desire for healthier and better food are a catalyst for growth, while the industry battles an outdated regulatory system to keep up with new plant traits. ASTA believes better seed can lead to improved sustainability practices and increased production to meet the needs of a growing planet.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn. The House Agriculture Committee Democrat played an integral role in seeing the Lower Food and Fuel Cost Act across the finish line, which she says would help address supply chain risks, lower the cost of food and gas prices, strengthen the food supply chain and ensure robust competition in the meat and poultry sector. In this interview, Craig discusses her ongoing concern for the economy and the financial obstacles of writing new farm and nutrition legislation. While she describes herself as a "all of the above" energy Democrat, Craig is a staunch supporter of renewable fuels and calls for additional spending on infrastructure to bring lower cost biofuels to motorists.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Constance Cullman, president and CEO of the American Feed Industry Association. Aside from concern over available bulk commodity supplies for the season ahead, Cullman says the nation’s feed manufacturers share concerns about maintaining and growing global market access as well as trade agreements that provide needed mineral inputs for their customers. Cullman quips that the European Union’s regulatory structure provides greater access to feed ingredients that improve herd sustainability than the U.S. Cullman says the nation’s road and railway transportation system is creating tremendous hardship on getting feed to livestock producers in a timely manner. AFIA implores Washington to take every available precaution to protect the nation’s livestock from foreign animal disease suggesting an outbreak would not only affect meat exports, but feed as well.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Heather Hampton Knodle, President of the American Agri-Women. Hampton is an Illinois farm girl who married a farmer and continues a lifestyle of stewardship in the soil. The AAW were in Washington last week to meet with government agencies and leaders on Capitol Hill. Hampton Knodle says AAW wants freedom to pursue stewardship practices to provide food, fuel and fiber for the nation with greater certainty of farm programs and regulations from Washington.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council. Sutter sees an end to the current short supply of soybean oil and other vegetable crops. He expects global soybean farmers to respond to higher prices with increased plantings to meet growing demand. Sutter expects soybean oil demand to increase and suggests USSEC is working to grow market opportunities for soybean meal globally. Sutter is pleased with the U.S. investment in infrastructure but is concerned that the Biden administration doesn’t have Trade Promotion Authority with this Congress needed to ratify any new trade agreement as written.