Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize, joins us for a wide-ranging interview on Open Mic. This week, the WFP event will be held in Des Moines, Iowa with many internationally acclaimed speakers including Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Roman Catholic Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana. The WFP honors three scientists in 2013 who dedicated their careers to commercializing biotechnology in crops and addressing world hunger issues: Marc Van Montagu of Belgium, Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley of the United States. The WFP encourages scientists and NGOs to talk about how to address crop production and distribution problems and plan for feeding nine billion people in the future, but activists are expected to protest the recognition of science-based solutions for modern agriculture. In this interview, Quinn addresses the issues head on and provides important context for the event, which was founded by Dr. Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Laureate in 1970 for his work in improved plant breeding.
Right Honorable Ambassador Mike Moore serves the New Zealand government from the embassy in Washington, D.C. He is a former Director General of the World Trade Organization, In that capacity, he initiated the Doha Round of the WTO and saw the assention of China into the trade body. He expresses regret at the inaction of the WTO but has hope it remains a means to negotiate disputes.
Amb. Moore is astute and colorful in his observations of world trade and describes the ups and downs of New Zealand's agriculture. He also speculates on the prospects for the Trans Pacific Partnership talks and further trade agreements with Europe. Moore salutes and credits the U.S. government and farmers for bringing food to the world.
Recognized as one of the most influential people in bioenergy, James C. Collins, Jr. is senior vice president for DuPont, in charge of Industrial Biosciences, Performance Polymers and Packaging & Industrial Polymers businesses. He is leading the effort to bring advanced biofuels to market, especially through a new generation cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. Collins will testify this week before the Senate Agriculture Committee on the Renewable Fuel Standard and its applicability to advanced biofuel development. He also comments on DuPont-Pioneer efforts to assist corn growers to get the maximum utilization of biomass by a sustainable rotational system of removing a portion of the stover for use in making cellulosic ethanol.
With international trade negotiations offering the potential for stronger ag exports, it's important to understand some of the key differences between the U.S. and other trading partners. In this week's Open Mic, John Dardis tells how the Irish view some of the trade barriers on both sides of the Atlantic. Dardis is a fifth generation farmer, who trained as a plant breeder, and currently serves as the Agricultural Attache for the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C. Dardis sees Ireland's agricultural future in the amount of beef, dairy, whiskey and other high value exports the island nation can ship around the world while creating much needed jobs. He also offers perspective on biotechnology acceptance and how Ireland is trying to build their next generation of young farmers.
The Chair of the Senate Agriculture, Committee, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), is ready to bring the 2013 farm bill to closure. She expressed frustration with delays in the House of Representatives and stands strongly on the side of providing food assistance to those in need. Stabenow explains the politics of the bill and how the President is monitoring the legislation. Action by the House to appoint conferees is a priority as she rejects the way Republicans are attempting to pass a nutrition bill that would reduce SNAP by $40 billion over ten years.
Agricultural Research Service Administrator Edward B. Knipling guided nearly 2,000 scientists with a focus on the Agricultural Research Service as the working arm of USDA science and an organization of national responsibility. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said it best: "Dr. Knipling retires with 46 years of service to the American people through the advancement of science.'' In a prestigious career devoted to the ARS, Knipling held positions throughout the agency, serving as ARS Administrator since 2004. In this week's Open Mic, Knipling shares many of the challenges facing the agency as it remains focused on science-based solutions to some of agriculture's biggest challenges.