Balanced Reporting. Trusted Insights. Thursday, May 19, 2022

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
Subscribe to this Podcast
McConnell_Open_Mic_Thumb.jpg

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Play
08-29-2021

This week’s Open Mic guest is U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. On the sidelines of a meeting with constituents early last week, the senior Senator from Kentucky took time to discuss the nation’s fiscal policy, infrastructure spending, the conflict in Afghanistan, climate and voter rights issues. McConnell discusses the political climate in Washington and the nation’s energy policy as well as the state of the hemp industry following the 2018 farm bill. 

Boozman_Open_Mic_Thumb.jpg

Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.

Play
Duration: 23:09
05-15-2022

This week’s Open Mic Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member John Boozman. The Arkansas Republican says the Russian-Ukraine conflict is disrupting a major food production region and exacerbating global hunger. Boozman says it is time for Washington to act, not only addressing the immediate needs of starving people but enhancing opportunities to encourage American farmers and ranchers to step up production to meet global shortfalls. Boozman is encouraged that an upcoming committee hearing on new farm policy will include a southern perspective on production, sustainability, and climate-smart farming practices. Boozman favors the Senate version of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act and would like to see the legislation approved in short order.

McConnell_Open_Mic_Thumb.jpg

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Play
Duration: 20:04
05-08-2022

This week’s Open Mic guest is U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Despite the many challenges facing the nation and the global economy, McConnell remains optimistic. With the mid-term elections looming this fall, McConnell holds little faith for significant legislative action this year. He is critical of the Biden administration’s trade agenda and believes the U.S. could step up to fill Europe’s energy needs heightened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. McConnell supports additional global food aid and acknowledges the global events challenging the nation’s farms and ranches.

Bloomfield_Open_Mic_Thumb.jpg

Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association

Play
Duration: 23:20
05-01-2022

This week’s Open Mic guest is Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association. Washington has directed a large sum of funds to close the digital divide between urban and rural residents and adequate broadband coverage, but there’s no single agency working to coordinate efforts across the government. Bloomfield reports progress in many areas, but a process of red tape that sometimes stands in the way of major accomplishments toward expanded coverage. Labor and supply chain issues are also providing obstacles to expanded coverage in many areas of the country. Managing the expectations of the underserved remains a challenge for the industry.

Sumner_Open_Mic_Thumb.jpg

Jim Sumner, USAPEEC

Play
Duration: 24:28
04-24-2022

This week’s Open Mic guest is Jim Sumner, president and CEO of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council. After record losses to U.S. poultry in 2015 from highly pathogenic avian influenza, the disease is wreaking havoc again around the globe. Sumner says the biggest losses have come in laying hens. Some 150 detections have been reported in commercial flocks in 29 states, but wild bird detections have been three times larger than the previous round of the disease. Sumner says the supply of turkeys for Thanksgiving could be challenged if the disease continues to spread. Finally, Sumner reflects on his career and discusses the challenges of labor and shipping in the poultry industry as well as frustration with the remaining trade embargo with Cuba.

Betsy-Ward-Open-Mic.jpg

Betsy Ward, USA Rice Federation

Play
Duration: 23:24
04-17-2022

This week’s Open Mic guest is Betsy Ward, president and CEO of the USA Rice Federation. All of the U.S. ag industry is faced with inflationary pressure and supply chain issues this year, but Ward says the nation’s rice growers aren’t seeing higher prices for rice largely due to a lack of global market access including unfair trade practices from India. She says growers would like better direction from the Biden trade team and wishes Congress would step in with policy to help growers offset higher production costs in 2022. Ward believes rice growers have made tremendous strides in sustainable production practices while maintaining a nutritious food product and wildlife habitat in fields across the mid-south and west.