Shining Light on Farm & Food Policy for 20 Years. Monday, April 15, 2024

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
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Jennifer Sirangelo, CEO National 4-H Council

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04-07-2014
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

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03-31-2014
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

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Alan Tracy, President of US Wheat Associates

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03-17-2014
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

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03-17-2014
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

Michael Toscano, CEO AUVSI

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03-03-2014
"They aren't Drones" is the first statement from Michael Toscano, President and CEO of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), when asked about one of the newest and perhaps most controversial new tools for farmers and ranchers. He says the mission of these vehicles, aerial or terrestrial, is peaceful and offers a great advancement in scouting, service, and efficiency. Toscano explores the issues farmers will face in operating the first generation of small aircraft that are designed to gather data and transmit it back to a ground base in an era where "Big Data" has become a huge concern. In this forward-looking discussions, he also looks at "blue sky" ideas that may result in an entirely new platform for business activity."They aren't Drones" is the first statement from Michael Toscano, President and CEO of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), when asked about one of the newest and perhaps most controversial new tools for farmers and ranchers. He says the mission of these vehicles, aerial or terrestrial, is peaceful and offers a great advancement in scouting, service, and efficiency. Toscano explores the issues farmers will face in operating the first generation of small aircraft that are designed to gather data and transmit it back to a ground base in an era where "Big Data" has become a huge concern. In this forward-looking discussions, he also looks at "blue sky" ideas that may result in an entirely new platform for business activity.

Michael Toscano

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John Miller, VP for Agricultural Operations BNSF

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02-24-2014
The trains are running slow in this very cold winter but the BNSF Railway plans for speeding up service and building up in the years ahead, says John Miller, Group Vice President for Agricultural Operations. He explains a number of factors slowing down shipments this winter, discusses 'grain in the box' and previews the very large capital expenditures they are making to improve and expand their hauling capabilities. Miller's past experience includes serving as president of Bartlett Grain in Kansas City.

John Miller