This week’s guest on Open Mic is Ray Starling, Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Trade and Food Assistance. With a rich career demonstrating a strong advocacy for agriculture, North Carolina native Starling finds himself in the middle of critical decisions over global trade, renewable fuels, and future farm policy. Starling shares industry concerns over possible Chinese trade retaliation and understands the levity of a pending White House decision on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Starling says the report from the President’s Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity is a road map for the White House goals for rural America.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Andy LaVigne, President and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association. In this week’s interview LaVigne discusses the two biggest issues facing his industry: trade and acceptance of new technology. LaVigne applauds the Trump administration for taking on longstanding obstacles to fair trade and a new information partnership with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. Innovature is a new platform designed to encourage conversations around innovation in food and agriculture. LaVigne says the initial focus is on gene editing which he says can help preserve the planet, improve consumer health, and increase food production.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Congressman James Comer. As one of only a few active farmers serving in the 116th Congress, the Kentucky 1st District Representative is committed to educating members of the new House leadership about the impacts pending legislation could have on family farmers. In this interview, Comer addresses the Green New Deal proposal, speaks to border security and immigration reform and hopes for an expedited conclusion to trade negotiations opening markets for the nation’s farmers and ranchers.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Gary Adams, President and CEO of the National Cotton Council. The 2018 rewrite of the nation’s farm bill provides a better safety net for fiber crop producers, but Adams says the cotton industry needs less retaliation and more market access to global trade partners. In this interview Adams identifies key market opportunities, highlights policy initiatives for the 116th Congress, and the dire need for disaster assistance for growers from last year’s hurricanes.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is US. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith. Speaking on the sidelines of the American Farm Bureau Convention in New Orleans earlier this month, the former state agriculture commissioner spoke in support of the new farm bill and the Trump trade initiatives. Hyde-Smith believes the pain of the current trade war will return better export opportunities for U.S. farmers and ranchers in seasons to come. Hyde-Smith stands behind President Trump’s efforts to secure the U.S. border with Mexico and introduced legislation last week to use a portion of Chinese tariff revenues to fund border security.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, R-Kansas. The Appropriations Committee member warned last year that approving continuing resolutions to fund the government would only make addressing the nation’s fiscal needs more difficult. In this interview, Senator Moran discusses the implications of the government shutdown, the consequences of failed trade negotiations, and the need for compromise on immigration reform and border security. In addition, he comments on the new farm bill, concerns about farmer suicides and the importance of healthy rural communities.