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.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Congressman Frank Lucas. The Oklahoma Republican reflects on the multi-year effort of crafting what he defines as the third generation of farm programs in the 2014 Farm Bill. As the House prepares to consider a new language, Lucas says the spotlight remains on preserving risk management tools and potential shifts in social nutrition programs. Lucas supports the Trump trade effort and says tweaks to renewable fuel policy must be handled carefully.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Senate Democratic Whip Richard Durbin. The senior Senator of Illinois anticipates upcoming legislative action on a new farm bill as well as consideration of appropriations for the coming fiscal year. Senator Durbin voted for the original NAFTA and is hopeful for a successful conclusion to its renegotiation. Durbin supports the nation’s energy law and believes the White House can resolve concerns with the Renewable Fuel Standard. Like many in the agriculture industry, Durbin is concerned with the Trump Administration’s tariff threats and the risk of lost markets for farmers and ranchers.