Shining Light on Farm & Food Policy for 20 Years. Friday, June 21, 2024

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
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Sen. Joni Ernst, R - Iowa

Duration: 21:11

This week’s Open Mic guest is U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. Agriculture was once a strong contributor to a positive trade balance, but is forecast to be in deficit this year. Ernst faults the Biden administration’s lack of effort in securing global trade deals for U.S. farmers. The Iowa Republican sees little chance for a farm bill this calendar year but hopes for better chances in 2025. Ernst also discusses results of a GAO report indicating the majority of USDA employees have not returned to work in their Washington, D.C. offices.


Julie Anna Potts, Meat Institute

Duration: 26:38

This week’s Open Mic guest is Julie Anna Potts, CEO of the Meat Institute. A new logo and brand identity of the group formerly known as the North American Meat Institute is being celebrated this week at the Annual Meat Conference in Nashville. The group’s purpose is summarized to highlight both nourishment and sustainability. In this interview, Potts discusses the group’s mission, efforts toward sustainability, the Biden administration’s amendments to the Packers and Stockyards Act, the new voluntary Product of the USA meat labels, Proposition 12 and the ill effects of the smallest cattle inventory since the 1950’s.


Ambassador Doug McKalip, USTR

Duration: 26:09

This week’s Open Mic guest is Doug McKalip, chief agriculture negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The nation’s producers reaped the benefits of shorter supplies of global agriculture products over the past few years, but a stronger dollar and an increase in supply have brought headwinds to international trade. USDA's most recent ag forecast suggests a trade deficit for U.S. agriculture, and there hasn’t been an announcement of a new trade deal in some time, and the Biden administration has concentrated on reducing tariffs as a means of improving ag trade. McKalip says the U.S. won’t give in to Mexico’s challenge of genetically modified crops and is contemplating its next move in trade relations with Canada over dairy policy.


RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger

Duration: 23:54

This week’s Open Mic guest is Marcia Bunger, administrator of the USDA’s Risk Management Agency. The crop insurance program is listed by many farm groups as the industry's most significant risk management tool, and participation has grown in both acres covered and products offered by the agency. The program price tag has increased due to participation and as well by devastating natural disasters across the country. Policies for dairy, specialty crops, and double-crop acres have brought more farmers to the table. Bunger says risk management tools are essential for farmers seeking loans to plant crops or expand their operations.


Steve Reinhard, United Soybean Board

Duration: 22:37

This week’s Open Mic guest is Steve Reinhard, chairman of the United Soybean Board. The Ohio farmer leads the 77-member group that determines where checkoff dollars will be utilized to grow the industry and create opportunities for soybean farmers. Reinhard sees a paradigm shift in demand for soybean oil which should lead to increased domestic crush and more competitive meal prices for exports and the domestic livestock sector. While functioning in the shadow of Brazilian soybean production and export volume, Reinhard says the U.S. commitment to sustainability and overall product quality will keep it viable globally. Reinhard says soy biodiesel and sustainable aviation fuel hold tremendous opportunities for the soybean industry.


Lori Taylor, The Produce Moms

Duration: 26:11

This week’s guest on Open Mic is Lori Taylor, founder and CEO of The Produce Moms. While working as a sales marketing professional in the produce industry, Taylor recognized the need of Millennial moms and others for a reliable and comprehensive online destination for facts and information to meet the challenge of improving diets with fruits and vegetables. The “community” as she describes the site provides nutritional information on fruits and vegetables, offers recipes and even brand name information. Taylor strongly supports the nation’s nutrition programs and believes in the partnership of medicine and food for better health.