This week’s Open Mic guest is Neil Dierks, CEO of the National Pork Producers Council. After a 40-year career serving agriculture with the last 20 years as the lead of the nation’s pork producers, Dierks is retiring back to the farm. He says the organization is strong in standing up for swine producers on Capitol Hill regarding environmental issues, science-based regulations and more access to international markets. Dierks says pork producers have worked toward sustainability and productivity goals for decades with many now carbon neutral and some as a carbon sink. His organization has concerns about efforts to redefine the Waters of the U.S. and labeling of alternate meat sources.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Todd Van Hoose, president and CEO of the Farm Credit Council. Van Hoose is grateful Washington delivered an extension of the 2018 farm bill but joins a chorus of other agriculture organizations calling for new policy to be approved in early 2024. He says USDA loan programs and limits should be adjusted to reflect higher operating costs in today’s agriculture economy. The Council has mounted a challenge against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over language requiring the collection of data that Farm Credit says is already available through the Ag Census. Van Hoose discusses the need for base acre and reference price adjustments as well as needed assistance for young and beginning farmers.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Terry Cosby, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. After more than 40 years of working with landowners across the country, Cosby has seen a number of policy changes toward preserving the environment and improving soil health. Cosby says he is invigorated to see an emphasis on sustainability in modern agriculture practices and is grateful to have additional funds under the Inflation Reduction Act to serve more applicants for essential programs nationwide. Cosby says conservation policy can never be “one size fits all” but endeavors to employ the best conservation practices on every acre in the nation and ensure that his agency is mindful of diversity, equity and inclusion.
This week’s Open Mic guest is EPA Agriculture Advisor, Rod Snyder. The Environmental Protection Agency often finds itself in the middle of converging opinions on pesticides, fuel and clean water issues. With 20 years of experience working for farm groups, farm associations and the chemical industry, Snyder is often the practical voice of reason at the agency’s decision making process. Snyder says flat budgets and a smaller staff make it difficult for the agency to accomplish its heavy work load. On crop protection products, Snyder stands by the work of EPA scientists and the safety protocols they employ. Snyder says his door is open to the agriculture community to voice their support and concerns.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Duvall is aware of the limited opportunity the congressional calendar affords for farm policy discussion on Capitol Hill, but that’s not keeping him and other farmers from pressing elected leaders for a new farm bill. The Georgia farmer says AFBF members support risk management tools that reflect the price structure of today’s farm economy and support effective nutrition programs for those in need. Duvall says the organization's resolutions process is underway for the policy delegates will consider at their annual meeting in January in Salt Lake City. In this interview, Duvall discusses expanding crop insurance, the farm labor workforce, energy and trade policy and ongoing negotiations with the EPA over the new Waters of the U.S. definition.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Congressman Jim Costa. The California Democrat represents the agriculture rich 21st district of the state. Costa is hopeful new leadership in the House will lead to compromise on fiscal and agriculture policy. Costa shares concerns about the “pay fors” needed for a new farm bill but says minority members on the Agriculture committee will not support cuts to either nutrition programs or IRA conservation funds. Costa says he would support an extension of the 2018 farm bill, but says legislators should forge ahead with a new farm bill as soon as possible.