Congressman Dave Loebsack, who recently hosted Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, in his southeastern Iowa district, explains why he and other Democrats could not support the split farm bill that passed the House a few weeks ago with only GOP votes. Loebsack is quite concerned about failure to get a farm bill through Congress this year and cites his concerns for agriculture if the current one-year farm bill extension expires.
Dr Richard Raymond is a former Undersecretary for Food Safety with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
He addresses the social and political ramifications of use of antibiotics and growth promotants in livestock. Dr Raymond sees a direct correlation between the rise of social media and the rise in consumer fears of antibiotic use in livestock, lean finely textured meat and ractopamine. He offers constructive criticism of the industry and advice on how growers can be proactive rather than reactive.
Fresh from voting on a split farm bill that creates a new permanent farm law, Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, tells why GOP leaders decided to pursue this path. Neugebauer represents the 19th Congressional District of Texas that covers several counties of the Texas Panhandle and the cities of Abilene and Lubbock and serves as a senior member on the Agriculture Committee. He describes last week's farm bill vote as a "first down, not a touchdown" as the measure hopefully heads to conference on at least the commodity title.
Roger Johnson is president of the National Farmers Union.
and a past Commissioner of Agriculture in North Dakota.
NFU, as an organization, has shown an affinity toward small farmers and democratic party views, however In this year's farm and immigration debates, they are in step with a broad coalition of farm and labor organizations who want passage of bills that can be put into law. Johnson is frustrated with the U.S. House of Representatives and their inability to compromise on issues like the farm bill and discusses why passage is stalled in the House.
Dr. Rob Fraley was just named a winner of the 2013 World Food Prize for his role in revolutionary biotechnology discoveries. His career has several parallels with Dr. Norman Borlaug and his passion is as intense. Fraley talks about the use of plant biotechnology to feed a growing population, addressing global hunger and the challenges of gaining acceptance of technologies that change the status quo. He also comments on biotech wheat containing the Roundup Ready trait that was recently identified on an Oregon farm.
Shirley Bloomfield, the CEO of NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association says rural customers want the same speed, clarity and quality of service as other Americans, but her members face several challenges delivering 21st Century technology, in part because wireless still needs a wired network. Her association is working with farm groups and others on a new Smart Rural Community Initiative to help boost education, telemedicine and economic development in rural areas. She also explains how failure to pass a farm bill impacts rural America and telecommunications firms who rely on USDA rural development programs.