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.
Mark Jackson is President of the Iowa Soybean Association and like many farmers, is uncertain about the size of this year's soybean crop. He's also frustrated by the lack of action on a farm bill and the implications of not having legislation in place to provide food security for the United States. In this week's Open Mic, he also shares how his association has been very active in reaching out to consumers so they can know more about the source of their food and better understand how farmers have been implementing more sustainable farming practices.
Sen. Mitch McConnell has been the Minority Leader of the Senate since January 3, 2007 and is the longest serving U.S. Senator in Kentucky history, but he's facing tough re-election battles heading into 2014. On this week's Open Mic, he talks about the challenges associated with passing a new farm bill and why going back to the 1949 permanent law would be "insane." In this wide-ranging interview, he also addresses a host of other ag-related issues such as immigration reform, estate taxes, the sequester, Obamacare and the "war on coal."
Brett Stuart is President of Global AgriTrends. He was formerly with the U.S. Meat Export Federation before becoming an independent consultant in the meat trade. Stuart's view is that China and Russia do not want "cheap" imports of meat and grain because it reduces their ability to be self sufficient in food production. He examines the politics and the economics of China and Russia and the role the United States plays as a producer and exporter of high quality, low cost meat and meat products.
Bill Wykes is a soybean farmer and the past chair of the Illinois Soybean Association. He is a strong advocate of biotechnology and utilization of science and innovation in agriculture. Wykes is concerned about regulatory and trade issues facing biotechnology and has encouraged the ISA to host a symposium on the dynamics of international biotechnology.