This week’s Open Mic guest is Michigan’s U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow. The Senate Ag Ranking Member is leading efforts to improve the environment and create a new revenue stream for farmers and foresters. The Growing Climate Solutions Act has bipartisan support and will see companion legislation soon in the House. Stabenow sees the need for additional farm revenue assistance and says nutrition assistance must be included in a new relief plan as well as support for rural communities. With the Fall election approaching, Stabenow offers insight into a Democratic led White House for agriculture.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Representative Jim Costa. The California Democrat was pleased with last week’s Supreme Court DACA ruling and says it’s time for the Senate to take up the Farm Worker Modernization Act to ensure an adequate workforce for the nation’s food supply chain. The 16th district representative supports federal financial assistance for agriculture and says the industry should not be forced to wait for further revenue assistance. Costa shares concerns about farms and commodities that were not included in the current CFAP payments and believes nutrition assistance efforts including the Family Food Box Program should be reviewed and revised where needed. Costa applauds the work of Ambassador Bob Lighthizer and the USTR but still questions the Trump administration’s approach to global trade relations.
This week’s Open Mic guest is U.S. Representative Rick Crawford. The Arkansas 1st District Republican serves on the House Agriculture Committee as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In this interview, he shares concerns over the U.S. trade relationship with China, COVID-19 impacts on the food supply chain and federal assistance to farmers. Crawford also offers his evaluation of the nation’s transportation infrastructure and the need for additional investments.
This week’s Open Mic Guest is Rep. Chellie Pingree. As a member of the House Committees on Agriculture and Appropriations, the Maine Democrat has played an integral role in Washington’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this interview, Pingree discusses policy that has been effective and response efforts that need to be amended to include more people from all regions of the country. Pingree believes agriculture has an important role to play in the nation’s response to climate change and that food waste is an issue that should more attention in the writing of the next farm bill.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association. The COVID-19 pandemic has painfully exposed the “Rural Divide” between those who enjoy adequate internet service and those who suffer from a lack of connectivity. In recent testimony before Congress, Bloomfield advocated for developing a national infrastructure to meet the needs of the day and capturing opportunities of tomorrow. Bloomfield says it is important for government agencies to coordinate efforts in developing and maintaining rural service and says the time is now to take action to provide this essential service to all Americans.
This week’s Open Mic Guest is Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark. Few events in history have been as challenging as the COVID-19 pandemic. Agriculture makes up one-fourth of Arkansas’ GDP and has hit the state’s rural economy especially hard. As a member of both the Agriculture and Appropriations Committees in the Senate, Boozman approves of additional funds to support the industry but is keeping an eye on the additional financial burden. He supports the Agriculture Department and Secretary Sonny Perdue’s guidelines for dispersing CFAP funds, is in favor of increased annual limits for the Commodity Credit Corporation, and believes the silver lining of the pandemic may be heightened efforts to improve rural broadband service.