This week’s guest on Open Mic is House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway. As his committee plans to markup the 2018 farm bill proposal on Wednesday, the Chairman shares thoughts on the politics and the key provisions in the draft proposal including proposed SNAP revisions, conservation programs, and adjustments to Title 1. The Texas Republican also discusses the Trump administration’s trade agenda and trusts USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to provide protection to potential trade retaliation from global trading partners. Conaway says the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard is unworkable and needs amendments by both the White House and Congress.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney. With hundreds of thousands of travel miles already logged, the former director of Indiana agriculture knows there are thousands more to go to find successful conclusions to trade agreements for U.S. farmers and ranchers. McKinney is patiently optimistic for a successful conclusion to the trade war with China and ready to begin bi-lateral talks with Japan. McKinney offers insight to ratification of the USMCA, the urgency of ending U.S. metals tariffs, trade with Europe and the overall objective of diversifying the nation’s global customer base.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Todd Van Hoose, President and CEO of the Farm Credit Council. Despite the USDA’s recent forecast of improved farm income for 2019, Van Hoose says many crop and livestock farmers are having a difficult time projecting a profit for the season ahead. Van Hoose says the key to profitability lies in the outcome of trade negotiations by the Trump administration. Van Hoose comments on the 116th Congress and hopes for progress on infrastructure and agriculture labor.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Jennifer Houston, President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Similar to other commodity organizations, Houston says cattlemen have a lot at stake in global trade negotiations including Japan, China and other Asian countries. At home, the Tennessee native says there’s much work to build relationships with new members of the 116th Congress and connecting with the demands of a younger generations of beef consumers.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Erin Fitzgerald, CEO of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. In her short tenure at the head of this group, Fitzgerald notes a tremendous disparity between what’s being said about food production and its real environmental impact. Fitzgerald responds to some familiar attacks on food production and redirects attention to areas where all consumers can play a role in environmental stewardship. The USFRA has a new lead of its Science Advisory Council and has announced new initiatives including the Science to Sense Marketing Program and the Honor the Harvest Forum coming later this year.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Canadian Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay. Agri-Pulse’s Spencer Chase spoke with the distinguished agriculture leader at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. In this interview, MacAulay shares optimism that his country’s farmers can expand income by satisfying increased global demand for food. MacAulay says Canada wants free and fair trade with no tariffs and no barriers. MacAulay speaks to the USMCA’s implications on their dairy industry, their displeasure with U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum and the need for governments to accept sound science and provide farmers the tools they need to boost production and maintain profitability.