Balanced Reporting. Trusted Insights. Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
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Rep. Cheri Bustos, D- Ill.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Illinois 17th District Representative Cheri Bustos. As a leader of the Democratic Party’s effort to strengthen the relationship with rural voters, Bustos believes there’s universal support in the House for the $1-trillion dollar infrastructure package. Bustos believes the Biden administration will deliver on its promise to protect farmers and small business owners in the larger reconciliation package referred to as “Build Back Better”. She supports an “all of the above” approach to the nation’s transportation fuel sector and has introduced legislation offering tax incentives for auto manufacturers to offer vehicles to run on higher ethanol blends.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell


This week’s Open Mic guest is U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. On the sidelines of a meeting with constituents early last week, the senior Senator from Kentucky took time to discuss the nation’s fiscal policy, infrastructure spending, the conflict in Afghanistan, climate and voter rights issues. McConnell discusses the political climate in Washington and the nation’s energy policy as well as the state of the hemp industry following the 2018 farm bill. 

Rita Hite

Rita Hite, Executive Vice President for External Relations and Policy for the American Forest Foundation


This week’s Open Mic guest is Rita Hite, Executive Vice President for External Relations and Policy for the American Forest Foundation. As the nation’s leaders draw attention to climate change and carbon sequestration, the American Forest Foundation touts the role families and individual forest land owners can play in pulling carbon from the atmosphere. While crop and livestock producers may offer more immediate results, Hite says forest lands can easily double their benefit to the atmosphere. Improved results may be slower in coming but the end result is greater returns for rural economies and verified results from wooded acres.


Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.


This week’s Open Mic guest is Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and ranking member on the agriculture subcommittee, the former governor of North Dakota has led a bipartisan effort to bring financial relief to drought-stricken farmers and ranchers in his state. He’s counting on additional short-term assistance from the USDA and is hopeful the budget process will deliver much-needed resources before the end of the year. Hoeven is concerned over the price tag and tax provisions included in the Majority’s budget reconciliation proposal and hopes those concerns are shared by Moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill.


Cattlemen's Beef Board CEO Greg Hanes


This week’s Open Mic guest is Greg Hanes, CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. As the nation’s cattle producers gather in Nashville this week, the Beef Board will be celebrating the 35th anniversary of the beef checkoff. Hanes believes producer promotion and research have helped to solidify beef’s place in the diet and its overall value is helping grow demand domestically and around the globe. Hanes speaks to the legal challenges facing checkoff programs, changing consumer influences and the opportunities ahead for the industry.


Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn.


This week’s Open Mic guest is Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn. In a state noted for its lakes and natural beauty, dry weather remains a huge issue for livestock and crop farmers alike. Smith says additional federal support may be needed in her state and others. In this interview, Smith discusses the two infrastructure packages at play on Capitol Hill as well as concerns over federal spending. Smith is a strong supporter of the Renewable Fuel Standard but agrees with a balanced “all of the above” attitude toward the nation’s energy needs. She shares concerns over cattle price discovery and sees labor issues as a top priority for the ag industry.