Shining Light on Farm & Food Policy for 20 Years. Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
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Chairman Mike Conaway

In this week’s edition of Open Mic, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway discusses what promises to be a frantic start to December as the U.S. Congress faces a deadline to approve omnibus appropriations legislation. Chairman Conaway is intent to see protection from budget cuts for the farm bill and crop insurance. In this interview, Conaway calls for administrative changes in the farm bill to help cotton farmers, discusses how the threat of trade retaliation from COOL is already affecting commerce with Canada, and the committee’s work to review the nation’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Jeff Nalley

House Ag Committee Chairman Mike Conaway


Open Mic: Gregg Doud, President and CEO NMPF

Duration: 25:26

This weeks Open Mic Guest is Gregg Doud, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.  The H5N1 virus in dairy cattle has presented yet another challenge for the dairy industry.  Doud says extensive testing by FDA confirms the pasteurization process is effective in keeping milk and dairy products safe for consumers.  Doud says USDA now believes the disease is being spread between dairy farms by mechanical means.  The industry is monitoring existing protocols and closing gaps that may have led to the disease spread to a number of dairy states in the nation. Doud also comments on Federal Milk Marketing Order reform and a USDA proposal that will be released soon, and he also talks about the House Ag Committee’s farm bill proposal.


Open Mic: Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO

Duration: 25:47

This week’s Open Mic guest is Dan Halstrom, President and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation. While the USDA is forecasting an even larger agriculture trade deficit this year, meat export sales are an exception to the rule. Halstrom says despite a strong dollar pork exports are up in both volume and value. Despite shorter beef supplies, Halstrom says global demand is still robust. Red meat export sales are providing a positive return on investment in federal promotion dollars but Halstrom says there are headwinds the industry still must overcome.


Open Mic: Chandler Goule, CEO National Association of Wheat Growers

Duration: 25:08

This week’s Open Mic guest is Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers. He has served in the halls of Congress and for the nation’s crop farmers over his extensive career in Washington.  Goule says failure to enact a new farm bill will only heap greater challenges on policy writers in 2025 and leave farmers with a policy that does not accurately reflect the financial risks producers face. Goule says the nation is losing wheat acres and growers to other crops that benefit from both advanced genetics and demand from new uses. NAWG supports crops for renewable fuels, but says unintended consequences from trade, farm policy and research could lead to dire and unintended consequences for the nation’s number one food grain and its growers.


Open Mic: Chuck Conner, President and CEO NCFC

Duration: 23:32:00

This week’s Open Mic guest is Chuck Conner, President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. A veteran of 9 farm bills, Conner's been on the markup side of policy on the Hill and the implementation side at USDA. Conner notes most of the bill’s debate on the House Ag Committee was more about nutrition programs than the farm safety net, but real differences remain between key players and should be worked out as the bill advances. He also discusses actions to address California's Prop. 12 and the adverse impacts on those least able to afford higher food prices. 


Open Mic: Jim Matheson, CEO NRECA

Duration: 23:48:00

This week’s Open Mic guest is Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The nation’s rural cooperatives are being pushed to increase base load capacity to meet growing demand from businesses and computer storage facilities. But at the same time, new emission standards by the Environmental Protection Agency threaten the existence of generating plants providing electric service to more than 42 million Americans in 48 states. Matheson says as much as 80% of the power used by cooperatives comes from fossil fuels, including both natural gas and coal, and NRECA is pursuing litigation to stay and overturn the EPA’s new rules.