This week’s guest on Open Mic is Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin. The senior senator from Illinois returned to the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee for the 116th Congress. Durbin is pleased with the bipartisan effort on the farm bill, but fears the downturn in the ag economy may be more than the legislation’s safety net can bear. Senator Durbin shares his view of small refinery waivers granted by EPA and supports the sustainable work farmers are voluntarily playing in efforts to combat climate change. Durbin shares thoughts on the long road to negotiate better trade relations with China and the need for infrastructure legislation.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. While political rhetoric and bantering over trade have dominated news headlines recently, there is much work to be done in Washington on Capitol Hill. McConnell acknowledges the differences of opinion on a number of key issues in Washington, but believes the two sides can compromise this week to finally approve disaster legislation.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Senator Blanche Lincoln, Founder of the Lincoln Policy Group in Washington. After a 16 year career representing constituents in the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, Lincoln is lending her voice to the Farmers for Free Trade Coalition in support of the USMCA trade deal and concern over the country’s protectionist attitude with global trading partners. Lincoln shares the concerns of farmers and the supporting industry over the Trump administration’s use of tariffs and the need to see congressional approval of the USMCA trade agreement as well as a resolution to the trade war with China.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson. Just back from leading a bipartisan delegation of Congressional leaders to Central and South America, the Minnesota 7th District Representative reports his observations of crop production, foreign investment and meetings with new elected leaders. Here at home, Peterson shares his frustration with approving disaster legislation, implementing dairy policy and the challenge of funding policy to support farmers and repair the country’s failing infrastructure.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tina May, Senior Director of Sustainability at Land O’Lakes. Sustainability has become a priority for Land O’ Lakes Cooperative and is also being embraced by more consumers. In this interview May outlines the cooperative’s efforts to meet growing consumer demand for sustainable farming practices while helping farmers incorporate new innovation, technology and industry partnerships to maintain profitability in their operations. She also discusses policy implications in states like California and nationally.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The 900 member cooperatives of the NRECA have a keen eye on potential infrastructure legislation that may come before the 116th Congress. After serving seven terms in the House of Representatives, Matheson hopes a good portion of those funds will be directed to rural zip codes and pointed toward more than roads and bridges. Matheson speaks to a Trump administration proposal to sell some PMA assets, a need for investment in rural broadband and how potential climate change legislation could affect system reliability and affordability of electric service to rural America.