This week’s guest on Open Mic is Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. The Illinois Democrat will serve on the 2018 Farm Bill Conference Committee and discusses the many challenges of resolving differences in the respective proposals including SNAP work requirements, conservation programs and farm support payment limits. Bustos agrees the U.S. should work toward free and fair trade, but disagrees with the Trump administration’s tariff policy. Bustos supports comprehensive immigration reform and is counting on a leadership change in the mid-term elections to bring better policy and a different result.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Congressman Rodney Davis. The Illinois Republican is a co-sponsor of pending immigration reform bill and shares his frustration with approving legislation to allow an adequate agriculture workforce. As a member of the farm bill conference committee, Davis strongly supports policy provisions in the House language and is ready to work with Senate leaders to resolve the two bills. Davis says the nutrition reform debate should be more about investing in job training than possible changes to assistance eligibility. Davis supports President Trump’s effort to bring change to global trade but fears the ill effects of an extended trade war on agriculture and the U.S. economy.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tom Nassif, President and CEO of Western Growers who discusses his group’s concerns about trade, immigration reform and the Trump Administration. Nassif, a former member of the Reagan administration, says it is time for the U.S. to say “enough is enough” to unfair global trading partners but fears the economic backlash of an extended and exhaustive global trade war. Nassif explains why Western Growers oppose the Goodlatte immigration reform proposal and doesn’t believe supporters will find the votes to address the issue this year- despite the urgent need to address labor issues.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is John Weber an Iowa hog farmer and a past president of the National Pork Producers Council. In this interview Weber reflects on the U.S. pork industry’s efforts to ramp up production to compete for a larger share of a growing global marketplace for their product. Now with a future clouded by retaliation from Trump trade tariffs, Weber says its time for the administration to deliver on promised bilateral trade deals and get involved in 21st century global trade. Weber also comments on continued hopes for immigration reform for the ag labor workforce and administration efforts toward new WOTUS regulations.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is economist Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge and Exchange Division. With an already depressed farm economy and concerns about trade relationships with global trading partners, Kowalski says the industry has a lot at riding on the success of the Trump administration’s trade policy. CoBank says Canada, Mexico and China consume 30 percent of U.S. agriculture exports and over twice that amount is tied to nations either in trade negotiations or all out trade disputes. Kowalski says the government’s plan to support farm losses from trade could run into billions of dollars and says the situation heightens pressure on Washington to provide a timely farm bill this year.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Congressman Dan Newhouse. Trade and labor are said to be the top two issues facing farmers in his 4th congressional district. In this interview, Newhouse talks about the critical need for fair and open markets as well as the shortage of available workers that’s costing his state’s agriculture industry millions of dollars annually. The former state ag director continues to work toward reform of the nation’s immigration laws and looks forward to another attempt at an ag labor bill later this month.