This week’s guest on Open Mic is Dr. Margaret Zeigler, Executive Director of the Global Harvest Initiative. The 9th annual GAP Report indicates a disturbing trend for global agriculture. While U.S. agriculture drowns in a surplus of bulk commodities, the global productivity trend falls short of the long range goal of meeting the food, fiber and fuel demands of a growing population. Zeigler says low income countries are especially deficient and would benefit from better trade relations, funding for research as well as public/private partnerships in food production.
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.
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.