Our guest this week is Missouri 6th District Representative Sam Graves.
As chair of the House Small Business Committee and member of the Transportation Committee, Graves is anxious for a long term resolution to finding resources for the Highway Trust Fund. He has introduced legislation to reign in EPA regulations on farms and small businesses. Graves wants a solution to the nation's immigration policy, but says the administration should do more to enforce the country's existing immigration policy.
The FDA and USDA have said that genetically modified crops are safe and should not warrant additional food labels. Others argue consumers have a right to know if the foods they purchase include ingredients from such crops. At least 30 states have considered additional food label requirements. Vermont recently became the first state to pass their own GMO labeling laws that now are seeing legal challenge from the GMA and others
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.