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 U.S. Senator Mike Rounds. The former South Dakota governor is well aware of the challenges 2019 has presented growers in his state including too much rain, lost markets, and ethanol demand destruction from the EPA’s implementation of the RFS. Rounds offers praise for the farm bill’s risk management tools and trade assistance from the White House and shares concern for a lack of conclusion to the USMCA trade deal. Rounds offers insight into his legislation on meat labeling laws and other challenges coming within the food industry.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. Serving in her freshman year in Washington, Spanberger has become a strong leader on voluntary farm conservation practices and the need for rural broadband. The Virginia representative says USMCA will benefit farms and businesses in the region she serves and offers her thoughts on the timing and consideration of the accord. Formerly serving in the Central Intelligence Agency, Spanberger sees the national security issues at stake in global trade negotiations and is leading the charge in developing a national 5G strategy.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Sen. Jon Tester. In this interview, the Montana Democrat shares his view of the ag economy and provides insight into legislation to assist the needs of producers facing emotional stress. He shares his view of the pending USMCA trade agreement, trade relations with China, the budget effort and the need for additional revenue toward rural health care and broadband.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Donnell Rehagen CEO of the National Biodiesel Board. For months, the Trump administration has attempted to bring resolution to the controversy surrounding waivers to the Renewable Fuels Standard. Rehagen says Small Refinery Exemptions granted by the Environmental Protection Agency have wreaked havoc on biodiesel refineries and the agency’s recently announced reallocation plan will only make matters worse.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tom Nassif, President and CEO of Western Growers. After nearly 20-years of service to farmers in New Mexico, Colorado, California and Arizona, Nassif is retiring in February 2020. In this interview, Nassif speaks to the need for meaningful immigration reform and the hope that Congress will address the issue yet this year. The Western Growers have made great strides in consumer outreach and implemented meaningful reform in product safety, traceability and sustainability. Nassif remains hopeful that difficult trade negotiations will yield expanded global market access for American farmers and calls for quick action to approve the USMCA.