This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren. The California Democrat worked with some GOP members and the ag industry to see the Farm Worker Modernization act approved last week in the House. The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, but has the backing of hundreds of farm groups across the country. On trade, Lofgren supports the USMCA as amended but isn’t sure the phase one pact announced with China has much to offer her district.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. Few years have presented as many weather challenges for farmers as 2019. USDA’s Farm Service Agency has acted to lessen the effects on crop and livestock farmers as well as facilitated the Trump administration's trade assistance programs. In this interview, Northey speaks to the new signup for the Conservation Reserve Program, upcoming deadlines under the 2018 farm bill and the possibility of a third tranche of payments next year under the Market Facilitation Program.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Rod Hebrink, President and CEO of Compeer Financial. Farmers have spent much of 2019 hoping for better markets, trade agreements and certainly weather. Hebrink says the current farm economy may show similarities to the 1980s, but the financial state of the industry as a whole is much different. Hebrink says government risk management tools and trade assistance have been a lifeline for many operations, but the industry desperately needs open markets and better prices into the new crop year.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Representative Ted Yoho. The Florida 3rd district representative appreciates the intent of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act approved by the House Judiciary Committee, but shares flaws he believes will prevent the language from becoming law. Yoho says President Trump’s USMCA isn’t in the best interest of his state but stands with him to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices. He also discusses concerns about antibiotics and Florida’s orange producers.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Mike Rounds. The former South Dakota governor is well aware of the challenges 2019 has presented growers in his state including too much rain, lost markets, and ethanol demand destruction from the EPA’s implementation of the RFS. Rounds offers praise for the farm bill’s risk management tools and trade assistance from the White House and shares concern for a lack of conclusion to the USMCA trade deal. Rounds offers insight into his legislation on meat labeling laws and other challenges coming within the food industry.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. Serving in her freshman year in Washington, Spanberger has become a strong leader on voluntary farm conservation practices and the need for rural broadband. The Virginia representative says USMCA will benefit farms and businesses in the region she serves and offers her thoughts on the timing and consideration of the accord. Formerly serving in the Central Intelligence Agency, Spanberger sees the national security issues at stake in global trade negotiations and is leading the charge in developing a national 5G strategy.