Drought and disease have reduced cattle and hog numbers in the US at a time when global meat demand is at an all time high. Phillip Seng, President and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation says trade agreements and accepted science are keys to unlock potential additional global meat sales. He describes the impact of growing meat demand in places like China and Latin America and how the USMEF is working to secure additional market share for the US livestock industry.
Global soybean and other oilseed producers gathered in Paris, France last week participating in the International Oilseed Producers Dialogue. As President of the American Soybean Association, Iowa’s Ray Gaesser participated in the discussion of developing a unified voice on issues of biotechnology, sustainability and global acceptance of new production technologies among global oilseed consumers.
Our Open Mic conversation this week is with the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, Congressman Collin Peterson. The Minnesota Democrat’s says he is pleased with the success of approving a new five year farm bill and the USDA is on task with implementation. Peterson says the appropriations process, tax issues and the highway trust fund are top issues before the Congress for the balance of the year, but also shares concerns about EPA's regulatory action and the school lunch program.
Our guest on Open Mic this week is Patti Montague, CEO of the School Nutrition Association. With the debate heating up between First Lady Michelle Obama and House appropriators over what should or should not be required in school lunches, we asked her to provide more insight on SNA’s position. The SNA supports the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act to provide not only healthy meals for students, but also to help them learn better eating habits. But SNA believes schools should be granted flexibility to meet the nutritional needs of students and avoid costly food waste. She explains why SNA supports the spirit of the law, but is concerned about some of the most rigorous regulations for both whole grains and sodium levels in foods.
Our guest this week is Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. After a failed attempt to bring legislative change in carbon emissions through the US Congress in 2009, President Obama is now using the regulatory arm of the EPA to bring about a major reduction in carbon emission from fossil fueled power plants. The move brings no guarantee that other counties around the globe will follow the lead of the United States. Coal-fired power plants provide about 40 percent of the nation's electricity. Opponents of the administration's plan see the move as another attack on coal that ultimately will raise electricity rates, eliminate jobs, and depress the nation's economic recovery.It's estimated that if the 30 percent reduction goal is achieved by 2030, global carbon emissions would be reduced by less than 2 percent. Ms. Emerson says the NRECA is concerned about the environment and points out that they've voluntarily cut carbon emissions in half over the past decade without additional government regulations.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Chris Novak, CEO of the National Pork Board, which provides the producer leadership for the Pork Checkoff. Novak discusses the challenges and opportunities U.S. pork producers have experienced this year, including the loss of more than 8 million piglets from the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV). Even though some pork supply will be made up through the marketing of heavier weight hogs, the dramatic losses – couple with strong domestic and global demand – are resulting in substantially higher prices for producers and consumers. Novak also discusses key demand factors and industry consolidation.