Bill Reinsch currently serves as President of the National Foreign Trade Council. He oversees NFTC's efforts favoring open markets and opposing unilateral sanctions. Mr. Reinsch also serves as a member of the U.S.-China Security Review Commission. He provides a concise overview of pending trade deals and disputes with optimism and criticism. Reinsch indicates that negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Altantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are the most ambitious of the new century and could move free trade to a new plateau. Reinsch says China, even though it is not part of any multilateral agreement, is still a major player in all negotiations on international trade.
James Moll produced "Farmland", a documentary about six farmers and ranchers from across the United States. The funding for the film came from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance but Moll says he had complete editorial control. The film had its debut on Thursday, April 14 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Five of the farmers featured in the film attended the gala event.
Moll is a very high profile film maker for this type of project. He has academy award credits to his name but says he had never been on a farm until he produced "Farmland". His point of view remains understated as he says he wanted the farmers to speak for themselves and tell about their industry and affection for their livelihood and lifestyle.
"This is the worst drought in forty years and maybe ever," says Congressman John Garamendi, who represents agricultural areas of the highly productive state of California. He projects reductions in water usage from twenty to one hundred percent this year. As a result, he wants to build new water storage lakes in a state that has said no to such construction for fifty years. Along with support from other California Congressmen, he introduced HR 4300: "The Sacramento Valley Water Storage and Restoration Act of 2014." Garamendi comes from a strong agricultural and public policy background. He grew up on a California ranch and still has livestock interests. He holds a degree in business from Berkley and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Garamendi served as Lt. Governor and chaired the Economic Development Commission. He served in the state legislature, rising to Senate Majority Leader and later became California State Insurance Commissioner. In 1995, President Clinton appointed him to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior. He was elected to Congress in 2009.
If you have ever participated in 4-H, you will undoubtedly want to hear from Jennifer Sirangelo, the new CEO of the National 4-H Council. The youth organization has membership of seven million young people worldwide with programs in science, agriculture, health and citizenship. She comes from a Midwest background, graduating from William Jewel College in Kansas City before receiving a MBA from Syracuse University and attending Oxford University. She was a Harry S. Truman scholar as an undergraduate. After joining the National 4-H Council in 2006, Sirangelo served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer as she led development of the council's strategic plan and tripled annual fundraising.
With prices trending downward, many commodity growers are paying close attention to the Renewable Fuels Standard and whether the EPA will eventually stick with their proposal to lower the amounts of renewables required to be blended. At the same time, livestock producers and the oil industry are stepping up their attacks to have the RFS removed altogether. In this week's Open Mic, broadcaster Cindy Zimmerman asks Bob Dinneen, the president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, to offer his prognosis on what the EPA will do on the RFS and whether there are other avenues to expand biofuel consumption. Dinneen credits USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack with being a strong biofuels supporter, even though he can't say the same about some other members of the White House team.
From biotech to international trade and a wide variety of other issues, U.S. wheat growers have a lot on their plates and Alan Tracy, President of the U. S. Wheat Associates plays a key role. Tracy first entered the national scene in 1981 at the beginning of the Reagan Administration. He worked under Agriculture Secretary John Block in a number of high level positions including Deputy Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Inspection Services, and Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs. He later worked in the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Agricultural Trade and Food Assistance and served for seven years as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. Tracy directs the organization's global export market development program, attempting to increase wheat consumption and U.S. market and talks about some of the challenges as well as opportunities for opening up more global trade.