Balanced Reporting. Trusted Insights. Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Agri-Pulse Open Mic Interview

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy
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Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.


This week’s Open Mic guest is Senate Ag Committee Ranking Member John Boozman. The Arkansas Republican isn’t pleased with the process of budget reconciliation for the Build Back Better Plan now before Congress. Boozman questions not only the sum of funds but the lack of detail in how the agriculture dollars will be used. While stepped-up basis may be preserved with the plan in its current form, Boozman says that can quickly change and says lowering the minimum inheritance tax thresholds could have the same detrimental effect on the transfer of farms and small businesses to the next generation. Labor is still a top issue for agriculture, but he’s doubtful this Congress will embrace the challenge.


Meagan Kaiser, United Soybean Board


This week’s Open Mic Guest is Megan Kaiser, treasurer and five-year member of the United Soybean Board. As a farmer and soil scientist, Kaiser says growers are reaping the benefits of previous checkoff investments in new uses and sustainability, leading to better soil health, increased productivity and a healthier environment. Farmer-funded research has also paved the way for cleaner air in major U.S. cities using biodiesel, biodegradable food and beverage packaging and more potential for food as medicine. She also discusses the need for better connectivity in rural areas so that more comprehensive data can be collected and analyzed.

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D- Ill.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Illinois 17th District Representative Cheri Bustos. As a leader of the Democratic Party’s effort to strengthen the relationship with rural voters, Bustos believes there’s universal support in the House for the $1-trillion dollar infrastructure package. Bustos believes the Biden administration will deliver on its promise to protect farmers and small business owners in the larger reconciliation package referred to as “Build Back Better”. She supports an “all of the above” approach to the nation’s transportation fuel sector and has introduced legislation offering tax incentives for auto manufacturers to offer vehicles to run on higher ethanol blends.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell


This week’s Open Mic guest is U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. On the sidelines of a meeting with constituents early last week, the senior Senator from Kentucky took time to discuss the nation’s fiscal policy, infrastructure spending, the conflict in Afghanistan, climate and voter rights issues. McConnell discusses the political climate in Washington and the nation’s energy policy as well as the state of the hemp industry following the 2018 farm bill. 

Rita Hite

Rita Hite, Executive Vice President for External Relations and Policy for the American Forest Foundation


This week’s Open Mic guest is Rita Hite, Executive Vice President for External Relations and Policy for the American Forest Foundation. As the nation’s leaders draw attention to climate change and carbon sequestration, the American Forest Foundation touts the role families and individual forest land owners can play in pulling carbon from the atmosphere. While crop and livestock producers may offer more immediate results, Hite says forest lands can easily double their benefit to the atmosphere. Improved results may be slower in coming but the end result is greater returns for rural economies and verified results from wooded acres.


Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.


This week’s Open Mic guest is Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. As a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and ranking member on the agriculture subcommittee, the former governor of North Dakota has led a bipartisan effort to bring financial relief to drought-stricken farmers and ranchers in his state. He’s counting on additional short-term assistance from the USDA and is hopeful the budget process will deliver much-needed resources before the end of the year. Hoeven is concerned over the price tag and tax provisions included in the Majority’s budget reconciliation proposal and hopes those concerns are shared by Moderate Democrats on Capitol Hill.