This week’s guest on Open Mic is Bob Young, President of Agricultural Prospects. With major trade and policy decisions facing agriculture in the new year, Bob sheds light on prospects for an upswing in farm income, the opportunities for expanding global trade and the dismal outlook if current negotiations fail. Now retired after a career including FAPRI, the Senate Agriculture Committee and Chief Economist at the American Farm Bureau, Young offers insight on major policy decisions facing Congress including support level triggers and calls for means tests for program participants.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. The renewable fuels industry is encouraged by a White House pledge to sell E-15 year round, but is concerned about the final outcome of the Trump administration’s discussions on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Skor suggests some possible conclusions might immediately lower corn prices and threaten thousands of renewable energy jobs. She is also concerned about hardship waivers granted by the EPA and has doubts about Administrator Pruitt’s commitment to fulfilling President Trump’s pledge to support renewable energy.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Congressman Frank Lucas. The Oklahoma Republican reflects on the multi-year effort of crafting what he defines as the third generation of farm programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. As the House prepares to consider a new language, Lucas says the spotlight remains on preserving risk management tools and potential shifts in social nutrition programs. Lucas supports the Trump trade effort and says tweaks to renewable fuel policy must be handled carefully.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin. The senior Senator of Illinois anticipates upcoming legislative action on a new farm bill as well as consideration of appropriations for the coming fiscal year. Senator Durbin voted for the original NAFTA and is hopeful for a successful conclusion to its renegotiation. Durbin supports the nation’s energy law and believes the White House can resolve concerns with the Renewable Fuel Standard. Like many in the agriculture industry, Durbin is concerned with the Trump Administration’s tariff threats and the risk of lost markets for farmers and ranchers.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. A long political agenda in the upper chamber is being further challenged by an extended list of confirmations for appointees for the Trump Administration. Kentucky’s McConnell gives an expected timetable for farm policy consideration and outlines his hemp bill that will be a part of the debate. McConnell shares thoughts on the Trump trade agenda, investment in infrastructure and goals for appropriations this year.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey. After an extended delay from nomination to confirmation, Northey, a fourth generation farmer and three term Secretary of Agriculture for his home state is on the job in Washington guiding the USDA’s efforts for farm production and conservation programs. Northey discusses Secretary Perdue’s reorganized plan for department programming and how the consolidation will impact farm customers and county offices across the country. Northey outlines the department’s efforts to upgrade technology to expand ways farmers can interact with Washington and his goals for better coordination among government agencies.