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 Tim Palmer, president of the National Association of Conservation Districts. With a continued emphasis on climate change and sustainability in Washington, the work of conservation stewards nationwide is coming into clear view. The Iowa farmer says conservation practices help to mitigate national disasters like floods and wildfires. Palmer welcomes new initiatives by farm groups and USDA to reduce farming’s environmental impact while increasing productivity. Conservation programs survived debate in the 2018 farm bill, but Palmer says program funds should be maintained and staff restored to local conservation offices.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union. Earlier this year the North Dakota native announced he’ll not seek re-election. Johnson and NFU support policy to keep more farmers on the land and remain concerned about the economic health of rural America. Johnson offers his thoughts on agriculture’s place at the table on climate policy, his frustration with the EPA’s administration of the renewable fuels standard and challenges developing the next farm bill.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tom Gallagher, CEO of Dairy Management Incorporated. Headlines from the dairy industry would suggest a sector under siege with a loss of fluid milk processors and dairy farmers. Gallagher says there are positives to discuss in consumer demand, but the industry needs a paradigm shift to meet a health-conscious consumer’s changing lifestyle. He outlines the group’s 2030 plan, speaks to the challenge the checkoff program faces from animal rights activists and more.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Dr. Heath Tarbert, chairman and chief executive of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The CFTC is perhaps the least known but most significant agency in Washington, regulating price discovery of most of the products consumers use every day. From electronic currencies to farm commodities and crude oil, the agency serves as an overseer of the derivatives market through various domestic commodity exchanges and collaborates with other agencies around the world. The agency has just released a position limits proposal to guard against excessive speculation in commodity trading that has been met with resistance in Washington. Tarbert says the CFTC is investing in advanced technology to monitor electronic trade and protect true price discovery.
This week's guest on Open Mic is Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. As an appropriator, Moran has a unique look at the government funding conversation and offers his insights as to what should be expected from the Appropriations committees this year. Moran also offers his insights on how he expects election-year politics to impact Capitol Hill. The former leader of the National Republican Senatorial Committee discusses what he thinks rural America wants to hear from political candidates and talks about the Senate race in his home state.