This week’s Open Mic Guest is USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. Nearing the end of his tenure as the first FPAC leader, Northey suggests the majority of work on implementing the 2018 farm bill is done as well the heavy lifting for the first two rounds of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program funding for a diverse group of farmers and ranchers across the nation. Ahead, Northey believes Congress should consider some mechanism for ad hoc assistance to be administered through USDA's Commodity Credit Corps. without additional legislative action. Northey believes CCC limits should be addressed in a new farm bill and believes a shift to climate-smart farm programs will include a number of conservation practices farmers are already implementing voluntarily. He says adequate broadband service is still an issue the Biden administration will need to address.
This week’s Open Mic guest is U.S. Representative Jim McGovern. The Massachusetts Congressman is outspoken in support of the millions of Americans that, despite stepped up efforts by Washington and volunteers across the nation, are still food insecure. McGovern is calling on President-Elect Joe Biden to appoint a Hunger Czar to centralize government efforts on food insecurity. McGovern says politicians are the problem because they lack the political will to address systemic issues that lead to the growing hunger issue. On trade, McGovern is hopeful for more diplomacy under the Biden administration in the nation’s trade relationship with China.
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.