This week’s guest on Open Mic is Glen Smith, Board Chair and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration. The watchful eye of the Farm Credit Administration closely monitors the balance sheet of the Farm Credit System and its service to the nation’s farms and ranches. Iowa farmer turned FCA CEO, Smith says stable land values have provided equity farmers needed to restructure debt and maintain working capital. Smith says some of the states with the most financial concern lie in their service area of the Midwest. Farmers were able to maintain income despite lower prices last year because of larger crop production, but says that may not be the case this year. Smith says natural disasters have been extremely challenging for some operations with losses far exceeding areas covered by crop insurance and other risk management tools.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Illinois 17th District Representative Cheri Bustos. With strong family ties to agriculture, the Illinois Democrat serves as a member of both the House Agriculture and Appropriations Committees. In this interview, Bustos shares concerns about the trade war with China and its “generational effects” on farmers in her district and across the country. Bustos says the Trump EPA’s administration of the RFS is deplorable and an “abomination of how it was set up”. Bustos recently offered her “Rural Green Partnership” to the House Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. The plan includes agriculture as a valuable tool in the battle against climate change.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Representative Collin Peterson, Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture. The Minnesota Democrat believes agriculture is headed for some “serious tough sledding” and is concerned about whether the 2018 farm safety net will be adequate to protect the industry. He worries that market facilitation payments may undermine future needs for additional price supports. Peterson wants answers from the Environmental Protection Agency about the small refinery waivers that are negatively impacting the ethanol industry and farmers and expresses skepticism about farm support for legislation to address climate change.
This weeks’ guest on Open Mic is Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board. As a fifth-generation farmer and former South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture, Even is well-versed in the obstacles and opportunities of the nation’s top industry. Despite a setback from a nationwide pig virus a few years ago, Even says hog farmers and the swine industry have ramped up production and capacity to supply the growing demand for pork. Even says African Swine Fever could be the biggest global event of this generation and outlines the challenges of protecting the domestic herd while trying to gain global market access stymied by trade tensions.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas. The 5th generation farmer is fully aware of the difficult economic plight of the nation's agriculture producers. In this interview, he discusses the challenges of unfair trade and the need to support efforts from the White House to level the global trading platform. Lucas discusses the upcoming budget debate and the need for additional disaster assistance and money to keep the nation’s infrastructure system functional and to keep U.S. crops competitive in the global trade arena.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Lisa Safarian, Commercial Operations head for Crop Science, Bayer North America. In the midst of integrating two global agriculture businesses, Bayer is facing headwinds from litigation of existing products like Roundup, as well as one of the most challenging growing seasons in recent U.S. history. In this interview, Safarian talks about the company goal of providing new technology for farmers while at the same time, embracing a fresh commitment toward global sustainability.