This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. After gaining another term to represent her state’s 7th district, Spanberger is ready to begin work on developing agriculture’s role in combatting climate change. Spanberger says the base of a green economy should give farmers a seat at the table when discussing national issues like health care, rural broadband and developing innovative policies to sequester carbon and promote rural economic growth. She supports investment in the nation’s infrastructure and believes the Biden administration will be instrumental in repairing challenged trade relationships and developing new global marketing opportunities for farmers and ranchers.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Betsy Ward, president and CEO of the USA Rice Federation. As an umbrella trade organization representing the sum of the rice industry, Ward speaks to the opportunities and challenges seen in global and domestic markets as well as the impact of the COVID pandemic on consumers around the world. Trade barriers have been an obstacle to the bottom line of U.S. rice producers, but recent trade agreements are bringing new opportunities for her members. Ward says government risk management programs have been successful in helping producers survive the cyclical nature of the industry and looks to build new relationships in Washington to maintain a healthy and viable industry.
This week’s Open Mic guest is EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. In a conversation just days before the election, Administrator Wheeler discussed the agency’s recent decision to extend the registration of certain dicamba products and amendments to the exclusion zones for ground and aerial pesticide application. Administrator Wheeler discusses the judicial challenges that threaten EPA jurisdiction of various chemistries as well as the request for information surrounding the agency’s decisions to grant RFS exemptions to some of the nation’s small refineries. Wheeler says EPA should regulate, but not dictate, options for the nation’s energy needs.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Jim Collins, CEO of Corteva Agriscience, who describes his company as a “startup with a rich history.” In this interview, Collins discusses the challenges of meeting global demand for food, fiber and fuel and the opportunities of a new production paradigm rewarding farmers for sustainability goals as well as the crops they produce. Collins says Corteva is rapidly developing new crop protection products to replace older chemistries that meet both producer needs and consumer demands for greener and safer products.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Dan Halstrom, president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. While the global food distribution system may have been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Halstrom says consumer demand for U.S. beef, pork and lamb continues to grow. USDA data suggests strong demand for red meat thanks to recent trade agreements giving U.S. producers a more level playing field to compete in global market. Halstrom expects recovery from the pandemic in certain countries as well as online trends in consumer shopping to lead to greater U.S. market share in global markets.
This week’s Open Mic guest is John Piotti, president and CEO of the American Farmland Trust. In this week’s conversation, Piotti expands on the group’s mission to preserve valuable farmland and to expand opportunities for farmers to use their land as a carbon sink to battle climate change as well as produce food for a growing planet. Piotti sees support from private industry as well as government policy to reward farmers for agronomic practices that sequester carbon in the soil and improves soil health. Piotti says changes in land ownership is an obstacle to developing new support programs for farmers and discusses the reasons behind farmland losses.