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 Dr. Nathan Pumplin, president and CEO of Norfolk Healthy Produce. Improvements in mechanization, nutrient management and crop protection have helped farmers make tremendous strides in productivity and sustainability, but Pumplin believes the industry is on the cusp of a tremendous revolution of more and better food for consumers through genetic engineering. The company is working with Washington now to gain full commercial status for a purple tomato with improved health benefits for consumers. Pumplin responds to questions on the safety of the science behind the new variety and the regulatory obstacles to growth in the industry.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association. The group — formed earlier this year by a merger of the United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association — is preparing for the upcoming White House meeting on hunger and nutrition as well as its own gathering in the nation's capital, where Burns says the group’s focus is the ongoing nutritional challenges in the nation and the world. IFPA is watching closely the development of the 2023 farm bill with a special interest in research as well as nutrition programs. Labor remains a top priority for IFPA members, and Burns is hopeful Congress can still address the issue this year.
This week’s Open Mic guest is G.W. Fuhr, Head of branded sales and biofuels for Syngenta. On the sidelines of the 2022 Farm Progress Show, Fuhr discussed the revolution of technology farmers utilize today to accomplish productivity and sustainability goals. Fuhr outlines the company’s expanded role in seed selection and revenue protection. He says Washington’s regulatory hurdles are a challenge for farmers who need crop protection chemistry and companies that want to bring new products to market.
This week’s Open Mic guest is House Ag Ranking Member Glenn “GT” Thompson. At last week's Farm Progress Show, Thompson offered thoughts on crafting a 2023 farm bill including an opportunity to chair the committee if the GOP wins a majority in the November midterms. The Pennsylvania 15th district representative is determined to see the committee do the work to write new farm policy with full committee hearings in Washington and across the country. Thompson favors investigating a shift to margin coverage for commodity programs and supports programs for small and beginning farmers as well as ag businesses. Thompson is critical of a “politically motivated” EPA and favors renewable liquid fuels over mandates for electric vehicles.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Donnell Rehagen, president and CEO of Clean Fuels Alliance America, formerly known as the National Biodiesel Board. A name change at the beginning of the year offered a better reflection of an industry group dedicated to renewable energy for the nation. Rehagen says corporate America’s shift in priorities to climate-friendly practices is leading to exponential growth opportunities for renewable diesel fuel for ground transportation, the airline industry and home heating. He says the Inflation Reduction Act secured renewable tax credits for the next two years and will help the industry ramp up to meet an expected two billion gallons of demand for renewable diesel. Rehagen believes the nation’s energy needs should be met by an “all of the above” list of products and sees growth opportunities despite a push toward hydrogen and electric vehicles.