This week’s guest on Open Mic is John Becherer, CEO of the United Soybean Board. After more than 20 years of service to farmer leaders who oversee the nation’s soybean checkoff, Becherer will step down from his post at the end of 2017. In this interview, Becherer highlights two decades of growth as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the soybean industry. As checkoffs face greater scrutiny, Becherer defends the farmer-led programs. Recently recognized as one of the top association executives, Becherer talks about what he’s learned association management.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Kevin Skunes, President of the National Corn Growers Association. Corn farmers have grave concerns over President Trump’s trade agenda as well as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s actions reducing volume demand for ethanol. In this week’s interview North Dakota’s Kevin Skunes voices farmer concerns over lost corn demand for renewable fuel and the potential loss of export market access. Skunes says corn farmers applaud the Senate Ag Committee’s approval of a new farm bill and look forward to pending full floor debate of new farm laws.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Ambassador Allen Johnson, President of Allen F. Johnson and Associates. As Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the U.S. Trade Representative's Office during the Bush Administration, Johnson successfully negotiated a dozen agreements on five continents. In this interview, Johnson offers his insight to the strong hand the Trump administration is using to bring about fair trade for U.S. farmers, industry and intellectual property. Johnson says initiating change isn’t easy, but the reward may well be worth the challenge at hand. To read the transcript of this interview click here
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tim Lust, CEO of the National Sorghum Producers. The nation’s sorghum producers survived a season of heavy Chinese trade tariffs for their product and now are hopeful trade negotiations can offer additional access to that growing market. In this interview, Lust discusses new global market opportunities for sorghum as well as the exponential demand increase here at home. Lust says they’re keeping a close eye on the EPA and potential changes to the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard as well as development of the 2018 farm bill.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Congressman Ted Yoho. As a member of the Agriculture Committee and the House Freedom Caucus, the Florida Representative offers insight into the failed vote for a new farm bill and key points for debate on immigration reform. Yoho, who was once a food stamp recipient, says there’s much to gain from approving new farm and nutrition policy this year and much to lose if Congress is forced to extend the 2014 law. He supports a new NAFTA agreement and says his farmers have suffered under the previous agreement.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. The renewable fuels industry is encouraged by a White House pledge to sell E-15 year round, but is concerned about the final outcome of the Trump administration’s discussions on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Skor suggests some possible conclusions might immediately lower corn prices and threaten thousands of renewable energy jobs. She is also concerned about hardship waivers granted by the EPA and has doubts about Administrator Pruitt’s commitment to fulfilling President Trump’s pledge to support renewable energy.