Shining Light on Farm & Food Policy for 20 Years. Sunday, April 14, 2024

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
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Todd Wilkinson, NCBA

Duration: 26:16

This week’s Open Mic guest is Todd Wilkinson, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The South Dakota producer is glad to see the profitability pendulum swing back in the beef producer's favor. He is concerned about the health of the overall industry during this period of herd rebuilding. Wilkinson sees much riding on the approval of a new farm bill from a producer protection standpoint as well as critical conservation programs. He and other industry members are just back from the World Meat Congress where antagonists to the meat industry were well defined.


Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla.

Duration: 23:27

This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla. The House Ag Committee member has joined her colleagues in the search for new leadership, but also believes many of her fellow Republicans could benefit from a reexamination of their approach to governing. Cammack has taken a special interest in the issue of broadband service for rural America, and with a new farm bill in the works, Cammack discusses some commodity program changes that would be a major benefit to her home state.


Dave Puglia, Western Growers

Duration: 22:50

This week’s Open Mic guest is Dave Puglia, president and CEO of Western Growers. Challenges to the fresh produce industry are too numerous to mention, but food safety, an adequate workforce, water supply, crop protection tools and regulations continue to impact the future for Western Growers. Still, Puglia says legislators cannot simply “rubber stamp” an extension of the 2018 farm bill. Puglia laments the passing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and shares his concern for the leadership shake-up in the House of Representatives.


Tim Lust, National Sorghum Producers

Duration: 24:54

This week’s Open Mic guest is Tim Lust, CEO of the National Sorghum Producers. Like other farmers, the nation’s sorghum producers are looking to Capitol Hill for an updated farm bill with adequate risk management tools to negotiate many financial, climate and market-based challenges. Lust says Washington has been tardy in delivering promised disaster relief funds much to the detriment of growers still facing dry soils. In this interview, Lust discusses regulatory challenges and market opportunities including renewable fuels and climate-based revenue options.


Ted McKinney, NASDA CEO

Duration: 24:35

This week’s Open Mic guest is Ted McKinney, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Fresh off of the group’s annual meeting earlier this month in Wyoming, state ag leaders, along with the rest of the ag community are keeping an eye on Washington for signs of a path forward for a Fiscal Year 2024 budget and signs of life for a new farm bill. McKinney discusses both sides of a continuing resolution to keep the government running, frustrations with the Biden EPA over its development of a new definition of WOTUS, California’s Proposition 12, and the Biden Administration’s efforts on global trade.


Rob Larew, National Farmers Union President

Duration: 24:07

This week’s Open Mic guest is Rob Larew, President of the National Farmers Union. Several hundred farmers and ranchers from across the nation were in Washington last week to hear updates from the USDA and Congressional leaders. Larew says farmer attitudes are as varied as weather conditions across the country. Larew says Congress can’t simply rubber stamp the 2018 farm bill and expect to meet the needs of crop and livestock producers in today’s economic environment nor can they expect outdated programs and triggers to protect producers through what promises to be continued volatility in the years ahead. NFU members want to see changes in cattle price discovery and are adamant about seeing changes in beef labeling.