This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos. In this interview the Springfield native expands on her role in the Democratic Party to enhance continuity with rural Midwestern voters. Her 17th district in Illinois includes major industry, agriculture and a strong labor union base making trade a difficult issue. Bustos discusses the health care debate, tax reform, the need for a transportation bill and offers her reaction to farmer responses on what’s needed in a new farm bill.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Rebecca Bratter, Executive Director of the U.S. Dry Bean Council. The success of our nation’s dry bean industry hinges on access to global markets. In this interview, Bratter explains the significance of the NAFTA talks and ponders effects of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the TPP global trade agreement. The 2014 Farm Bill was more attentive to the needs of specialty crop farmers. Bratter shares her industry’s goals for the next round of farm policy development including more dollars for market development and continue funding for global food aid.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Dr. Robb Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Monsanto. On the sidelines of last week’s Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, Fraley discussed the convergence of biological science and data technology in an era defined as “Modern Agriculture”. In this interview Fraley reflects on the evolution of genetic enhancement and the opportunities that will frame the future of farming as well as how gene editing is changing modern medicine and agriculture. Fraley talks openly about the introduction of dicamba resistant crops this year and perspective of complaints that have been reported across the country.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Alan Tracy, immediate past president of U.S. Wheat Associates. In this interview, Tracy describes how quality has replaced politics as the key driver of global market access. Tracy isn’t ready to define the Trump trade bias as isolationist, but shares concern about the administration's global trade agenda. While congressional agriculture committees appear closer to marking up a new farm bill, Tracy says wheat and other agriculture groups are hopeful for increased Title 3 spending.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Paul Drazek, a veteran agricultural trade consultant and partner with DTB Associates. The Trump trade agenda has drawn concern from the agriculture community as the administration’s hard line stance on existing trade deals threatens access to a growing world population and potentially, farm income opportunities. In this interview, Drazek shares thoughts on the Trump team's bi-lateral trade strategy, how to deal with China on trade disputes and the best possible outcome from the NAFTA re-negotiation.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is John Becherer, CEO of the United Soybean Board. After more than 20 years of service to farmer leaders who oversee the nation’s soybean checkoff, Becherer will step down from his post at the end of 2017. In this interview, Becherer highlights two decades of growth as well as the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the soybean industry. As checkoffs face greater scrutiny, Becherer defends the farmer-led programs. Recently recognized as one of the top association executives, Becherer talks about what he’s learned association management.