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.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Congressman Rodney Davis. The fourth term Republican reports tariffs and renewable fuel are the top two concerns among his constituents in the thirteenth district. Davis supports President Trump’s efforts to open markets and level the playing field for U.S. farmers and ranchers, but hopes for a quick conclusion in the trade war. Davis is outspoken in his call to bring the USMCA trade agreement to the House floor and says his proposed legislation on implementing the Renewable Fuels Standard and granting small refinery exemptions will work hand in hand with recent objectives announced by the White House.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Kevin Ross, president of the National Corn Growers Association. In a season of challenges from weather, global market access, and low prices, Ross says there is a certain anxiety being felt by corn farmers nationwide. Ross says NCGA is encouraged by the Trump administration’s commitment to a new set of rules to administer the Renewable Fuels Standard that guarantees minimum blending targets will be met. Ross says corn growers desperately want to see USMCA approved, a Japanese trade deal signed and an end to the trade war with China.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Nathan Kauffman, vice president and Omaha branch executive with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. While the farm economy continues to struggle in a multi-year downturn, the overall balance sheet remains strong. Land values remain high and interest rates are low, which has allowed farmers options to restructure debt. Kauffman says Market Facilitation Program payments helped farm balance sheets last year, but are only a short term fix to an enduringly challenged financial outlook.