This week’s Open Mic guest is Kristin Peck, CEO of Zoetis. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world a lot about emerging infectious diseases. Peck says early detection and rapid response are keys to curbing the spread of threatening disease in both humans and animals and public and private collaboration is needed to battle future threats. She says the animal health industry’s growth is prompted by expansion in pet care and by growing consumer demand for milk and meat. Looking ahead, she says innovation in data collection and genetic analysis will lead to healthier animals and more sustainable production.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts. For four decades, Kansans elected Pat Roberts to represent them in Washington D.C. After serving as chairman and ranking member on the agriculture committees in both chambers and helping write eight different farm bills, the Kansas legislator is hanging up his spurs on the Hill. In this interview, Roberts discusses the challenges he sees in the culture of the Senate, the implications of next month’s Georgia Senate elections, climate change and the Paris Climate accord, and the obstacles ahead for the next farm bill. Roberts is concerned about China’s thirst for power and believes trade is a lever of influence in our relationship with the Communist nation.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Mike Conaway. The Texas Republican chose not to seek re-election in his 11th district for the 117th Congress and shares thoughts in this interview on the nation’s budget woes, proposed climate policy and the need for farm programs that support the core producers of food and fiber for the nation. Conaway says the nation’s growing budget deficit is a certain obstacle for those who would support another multi-trillion dollar COVID relief measure. Conaway cautions against proposed climate policy that would put the U.S. at a disadvantage to other economies of the globe and questions if the USDA has the authority to use CCC resources for carbon offsets.
This week’s Open Mic guest is South Dakota U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson. As the lame-duck session wraps up the 116th Congress, Johnson believes a targeted COVID relief package could be approved. Johnson speaks to opportunities and challenges from the Biden Climate agenda including the Paris Climate Accord. Johnson discusses mandatory price reporting issues that will come before legislators and the PRICE Act that addresses many concerns about cattle price discovery. He says there’s still a need for nutrition reform and expects the issue to see attention in debate for the 2023 farm bill. Johnson is skeptical the new administration can bring consensus on immigration reform.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Colin Woodall, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The beef producers have seen their fair share of adversity from the COVID-19 pandemic, but have also seen a resurgence in consumer demand with more meals consumed at home. In this interview, Woodall discusses opportunities for direct marketing to consumers and the need for additional regional processing facilities. Woodall speaks to NCBA’s efforts to increase price discovery in the auction market and addresses reform efforts of the beef checkoff. Woodall says NCBA stands ready to work with the incoming Biden Administration’s regulatory and legislative agenda and is also working on sustainability strategies.
This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. After gaining another term to represent her state’s 7th district, Spanberger is ready to begin work on developing agriculture’s role in combatting climate change. Spanberger says the base of a green economy should give farmers a seat at the table when discussing national issues like health care, rural broadband and developing innovative policies to sequester carbon and promote rural economic growth. She supports investment in the nation’s infrastructure and believes the Biden administration will be instrumental in repairing challenged trade relationships and developing new global marketing opportunities for farmers and ranchers.