As hundreds of barges sit stranded along the banks of the Ohio River, it’s no secret that are nation’s ailing locks and dams are in need of an update. This week’s guest on Open Mic is Mike Toohey, President and CEO of the Waterways Council Inc. He describes the struggle of keeping an antiquated system functional and efforts to find adequate funding to replace dilapidated structures which are so critical to the U.S. economy and agriculture’s global competitiveness. Toohey says proposed tax reform and the Trump administration’s proposal to invest in the nation’s infrastructure could help, but aren’t guaranteed.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. With all eyes on the fourth round of NAFTA 2.0 talks in Washington this week, the dairy industry anxiously awaits the opportunity to challenge Canada’s dairy policy. In this interview, Mulhern expresses the dairy industry’s desire for immigration reform and the consequences of congressional delay. After three years of low prices and reduced income, Mulhern says the industry is ready to see dairy policy reform.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. As the leader of the nation’s largest general farm organization, the Georgia farmer continues to call for one voice from agriculture on Capitol Hill. In this interview, Duvall speaks to funding for the new farm bill as well as pending action on immigration reform and new tax laws for individuals and corporations, the Renewable Fuel Standard and the industry’s reliance on open trade policy.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tom Stenzel, President and CEO of the United Fresh Produce Association. Fresh off a very successful Washington Conference last week, Stenzel and the leaders of the produce industry are keeping a keen eye on the current round of NAFTA negotiations in Ottawa. Stenzel outlines the group’s policy goals toward the 2018 farm bill including a difficult debate on nutrition restrictions or incentives for the SNAP program. Stenzel outlines the two biggest issues in the farm labor debate and discusses House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s proposed H2-C labor proposal.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos. In this interview the Springfield native expands on her role in the Democratic Party to enhance continuity with rural Midwestern voters. Her 17th district in Illinois includes major industry, agriculture and a strong labor union base making trade a difficult issue. Bustos discusses the health care debate, tax reform, the need for a transportation bill and offers her reaction to farmer responses on what’s needed in a new farm bill.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Rebecca Bratter, Executive Director of the U.S. Dry Bean Council. The success of our nation’s dry bean industry hinges on access to global markets. In this interview, Bratter explains the significance of the NAFTA talks and ponders effects of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the TPP global trade agreement. The 2014 Farm Bill was more attentive to the needs of specialty crop farmers. Bratter shares her industry’s goals for the next round of farm policy development including more dollars for market development and continue funding for global food aid.