This week’s guest on Open Mic is David Hollinrake, president of Syngenta Seeds, LLC, and North American Regional Director. In this interview Hollinrake discusses the consolidation trend of both farmers and global agriculture and the technological advances which will enable farmers to sustainably produce more crops with fewer inputs. A number of studies suggest an even smaller universe of farmers will produce an even greater percentage of total food output. The paradigm shift suggests world class competition among companies to bring innovation to a shrinking customer base. Hollinrake identifies both the opportunities and challenges for companies and the customers they serve.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is California 16th District Representative Jim Costa. As Chair of the House Ag Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, Costa is in the thick of key debates before the 116th Congress on labor, trade, livestock and nutrition assistance and plans an upcoming hearing on dairy policy. Costa is convinced the earth’s climate is changing but doesn’t believe the “aspirational” Green New Deal is the right strategy to guide the nation in reducing its overall carbon footprint.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney. With hundreds of thousands of travel miles already logged, the former director of Indiana agriculture knows there are thousands more to go to find successful conclusions to trade agreements for U.S. farmers and ranchers. McKinney is patiently optimistic for a successful conclusion to the trade war with China and ready to begin bi-lateral talks with Japan. McKinney offers insight to ratification of the USMCA, the urgency of ending U.S. metals tariffs, trade with Europe and the overall objective of diversifying the nation’s global customer base.
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.