Balanced Reporting. Trusted Insights. Saturday, July 02, 2022

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
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James Moll, Producer of "Farmland"

James Moll produced "Farmland", a documentary about six farmers and ranchers from across the United States. The funding for the film came from the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance but Moll says he had complete editorial control. The film had its debut on Thursday, April 14 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Five of the farmers featured in the film attended the gala event. Moll is a very high profile film maker for this type of project. He has academy award credits to his name but says he had never been on a farm until he produced "Farmland". His point of view remains understated as he says he wanted the farmers to speak for themselves and tell about their industry and affection for their livelihood and lifestyle.

James Moll


Cong. John Garamendi - CA

"This is the worst drought in forty years and maybe ever," says Congressman John Garamendi, who represents agricultural areas of the highly productive state of California. He projects reductions in water usage from twenty to one hundred percent this year. As a result, he wants to build new water storage lakes in a state that has said no to such construction for fifty years. Along with support from other California Congressmen, he introduced HR 4300: "The Sacramento Valley Water Storage and Restoration Act of 2014." Garamendi comes from a strong agricultural and public policy background. He grew up on a California ranch and still has livestock interests. He holds a degree in business from Berkley and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Garamendi served as Lt. Governor and chaired the Economic Development Commission. He served in the state legislature, rising to Senate Majority Leader and later became California State Insurance Commissioner. In 1995, President Clinton appointed him to be Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior. He was elected to Congress in 2009.

John Garamendi

Jennifer Sirangelo, CEO National 4-H Council

If you have ever participated in 4-H, you will undoubtedly want to hear from Jennifer Sirangelo, the new CEO of the National 4-H Council. The youth organization has membership of seven million young people worldwide with programs in science, agriculture, health and citizenship. She comes from a Midwest background, graduating from William Jewel College in Kansas City before receiving a MBA from Syracuse University and attending Oxford University. She was a Harry S. Truman scholar as an undergraduate. After joining the National 4-H Council in 2006, Sirangelo served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer as she led development of the council's strategic plan and tripled annual fundraising.

Jennifer Sirangelo

Bob Dinneen, President Renewable Fuels Association

With prices trending downward, many commodity growers are paying close attention to the Renewable Fuels Standard and whether the EPA will eventually stick with their proposal to lower the amounts of renewables required to be blended. At the same time, livestock producers and the oil industry are stepping up their attacks to have the RFS removed altogether. In this week's Open Mic, broadcaster Cindy Zimmerman asks Bob Dinneen, the president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, to offer his prognosis on what the EPA will do on the RFS and whether there are other avenues to expand biofuel consumption. Dinneen credits USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack with being a strong biofuels supporter, even though he can't say the same about some other members of the White House team.

Bob Dinneen


Alan Tracy, President of US Wheat Associates

From biotech to international trade and a wide variety of other issues, U.S. wheat growers have a lot on their plates and Alan Tracy, President of the U. S. Wheat Associates plays a key role. Tracy first entered the national scene in 1981 at the beginning of the Reagan Administration. He worked under Agriculture Secretary John Block in a number of high level positions including Deputy Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Inspection Services, and Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs and Commodity Programs. He later worked in the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Agricultural Trade and Food Assistance and served for seven years as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. Tracy directs the organization's global export market development program, attempting to increase wheat consumption and U.S. market and talks about some of the challenges as well as opportunities for opening up more global trade.

Alan Tracy

Scott Fritz, Chair, World Soy Foundation

Indiana farmer Scott Fritz has served in many capacities within the U.S. soybean Industry but says his current role is the most satisfying because the Soy Foundation is feeding hungry children in many developing nations and showing the way to greater food independence. As U.S. farmers celebrate Ag Day this week, Fritz is one of several farmers focused on helping feed the hungry both in the U.S. and around the globe. "Helping children is close to my heart; it's a heartwarming feeling," Fritz says. "We as farmers take pride in our product, but being able to turn around and help other people. That's what it's all about." He shares how sow cows help feed school children and teach others to develop their own businesses.

Scott Fritz