Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is our guest this week on Agri-Pulse Open Mic. Broadcaster Ken Root sat down with Vilsack to discuss his approach to on-farm regulatory issues and efforts to improve water quality, including the potential for ecosystem markets. He talks about the 2012 Farm Bill and differences between the House and Senate version and details the Obama Administrations views on trimming crop insurance subsidies. While the farm economy is currently booming, the former Iowa Governor describes his biggest fear for the future.
Mike Johanns is an Iowa farm boy who headed west to Nebraska to serve as governor before heading east to serve as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in the GW Bush administration before heading back to win an open U.S. Senate seat almost four years ago. He spoke about the politics of the pending farm bill and the challenges caused by geographical conflict. He also talked about the changing landscape for revered Republicans who are losing out to more conservative opponents and the surprising victory of a Nebraska Sandhills legislator who is now the Republican candidate for Nebraska's other seat in the U.S. Senate.
Johanns heads up the "Aggies for Romney" campaign and was asked if he would accept the vice presidential slot with Governor Romney on the 2012 Repubican Ticket.
Bill Northey is a fourth generation farmer from Spirit Lake, Iowa who serves as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and also as President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Taking a break from planting, he explains NASDA's perspective on the 2012 Farm Bill and discusses future challenges ahead with conservation and water quality. He also talks about the impact that social media and other communication tools has had on lean finely textured beef, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, and new varieties of biotech seed corn.
In this week’s edition of Open Mic, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway discusses what promises to be a frantic start to December as the U.S. Congress faces a deadline to approve omnibus appropriations legislation. Chairman Conaway is intent to see protection from budget cuts for the farm bill and crop insurance. In this interview, Conaway calls for administrative changes in the farm bill to help cotton farmers, discusses how the threat of trade retaliation from COOL is already affecting commerce with Canada, and the committee’s work to review the nation’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.