Congressman Rick Nolan is a democrat from Minnesota's 8th district. His primary industries are agriculture, forestry and mining. He holds the congressional record for the longest lapse between terms as he served in Congress (1975-1981), then left to go into business where he managed an international trade association and was owner and president of a forestry company. He returned to Congress this year, in his mid 60's, and now sits on the agriculture and transportation committees.
Nolan speaks about then and now in the change in Congress and about the prospect for passage of the House Farm Legislation. He also talks about the EPA and the challenges faced by industries in his district.
Congressman Steve King is an outspoken conservative member of the House Agriculture Committee. In this week's Open Mic, the Iowa Republican shares his observations about the farm bill that the committee wrote last week. King put through an egg amendment that may keep states from imposing standards that restrict commerce with other states. He also wants to cut the cost of SNAP and reduce other expenditures as well. King,
who is in line to be chairman when the next farm bill comes up in 2018, also discusses how committee membership has changed.
With the Senate Agriculture Committee set to start writing a new farm bill on Tuesday and the House Agriculture Committee ready to follow a day later, Congressman Collin Peterson offers his views on how a new farm bill can hopefully get passed by both chambers this year. As the ranking Democrat, he talks about the compromises he's worked out with Chairman Frank Lucas on a host of issues and with Speaker John Boehner regarding dairy policy. Peterson also expresses confidence about a compromise on nutrition spending - even though the level of cuts in the House Agriculture Committee's draft bill are significantly higher than the Senate version.
This week's Open Mic guest is Bing Von Bergen, a wheat grower from Moccasin, Montana and president of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). Wheat growers from the northern plains to Texas are faced with unpredictable weather and that is why crop insurance is a top priority for his association. But, the organization, which just hired a new CEO, also wants a revenue guarantee program in the commodity title that focuses on farm level losses. He also addresses biotechnology in wheat as the last major grain where genetic modification may be introduced.
Representative Jim Costa, D-Calif., is a third generation farmer who is serving his ninth year in Congress. As he and his fellow members of the House Agriculture Committee start work on a new farm bill in May, he expresses optimism that compromises can be reached on contentious issues like SNAP and dairy reform and that there will be enough Democrats voting for the bill to ensure passage in 2013. He also discusses reform of our nation's immigration laws and the Renewable Fuels Standard.
Congressman Rosa DeLauro has strong opinions about hunger in America, farm programs, crop insurance and food safety. Her views offer insight into the challenges that lawmakers and farm groups will face whenever a new farm bill is scheduled for debate on the House floor. DeLauro represents Connecticut's Third District, which stretches from the Long Island Sound and New Haven to the Naugatuck Valley and Waterbury. She serves in the Democratic leadership as co-chair of the Steering and Policy Committee, and is the ranking member on the Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, where she oversees investments in education, health, and employment. She also serves on the subcommittee responsible for FDA and agriculture, where she oversees drug and food safety. In this week's Open Mic, DeLauro also discusses her objections to the Trans Pacific Partnership and fears that food safety will be compromised by the agreement.