This week’s guest on Open Mic is former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. After a year on the job at USDEC, Vilsack says dairy farmers are counting on folks in Washington to grow global market access and deliver better support programs for the country’s dairy farmers. Vilsack says withdrawing from NAFTA would bring the worst possible outcome for agriculture and the dairy industry. He also discusses the upcoming farm bill and how failure to improve the current Margin Protection Program would bring more hardships on small and medium-sized dairy farmers. The Iowa Democrat offers his support for immigration reform and offers advice for candidates trying to win votes in rural America.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. After only a few weeks in his new role, McKinney has already traveled thousands of miles on behalf of U.S. farmers and ranchers. In this interview Indiana’s former Director of Agriculture outlines the coordinated efforts of the Trump administration on trade, identifies potential market opportunities and speaks to the need for domestic infrastructure investment. McKinney outlines the current NAFTA negotiations and speaks to trade relations with both Canada and Japan.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Jerry Moran. The Kansas Republican participated in the American Farm Bureau Convention last week in Nashville and provided a pessimistic forecast for Congress to complete a new farm bill in 2018. Immediately, legislators face another spending deadline this week as well as consideration of disaster assistance and immigration issues. Moran supports continued efforts for better trade agreements and says NAFTA is simply too important to the nation for the Trump Administration to threaten a withdrawal. Senator Moran voted for tax reform and outlines areas he expect to see improvement in the nation’s economy.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council. The nation's soybean industry faces a number of challenges in maintaining global market share. Production is keeping pace with consumption placing greater demands on the domestic industry to satisfy quality standards, sustainability requirements and price. In this interview Sutter outlines the U.S. agreement with China over FM standards, defines the advantages of industry’s soybean sustainability assurance protocol and highlights the search for new global opportunities for the industry.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Bob Young, President of Agricultural Prospects. With major trade and policy decisions facing agriculture in the new year, Bob sheds light on prospects for an upswing in farm income, the opportunities for expanding global trade and the dismal outlook if current negotiations fail. Now retired after a career including FAPRI, the Senate Agriculture Committee and Chief Economist at the American Farm Bureau, Young offers insight on major policy decisions facing Congress including support level triggers and calls for means tests for program participants.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Ambassador Darci Vetter, former Chief Agricultural Negotiator and current diplomat in residence at the University of Nebraska.
Ambassador Vetter recently joined the Farmers for Free Trade coalition as an advisor to the board. In this week’s interview the Ambassador embellishes on the challenges of discussing trade agreements and the need for farmers and the agriculture industry to bring clarity to the opportunities and implications of trade deals. Ambassador Vetter says trade deficits aren’t the proper scale to judge trade agreements. She says trade relationships may have been irreparably damaged and isn’t surprised that Mexico is now diversifying its agriculture import sources.