This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tina May, Senior Director of Sustainability at Land O’Lakes. Sustainability has become a priority for Land O’ Lakes Cooperative and is also being embraced by more consumers. In this interview May outlines the cooperative’s efforts to meet growing consumer demand for sustainable farming practices while helping farmers incorporate new innovation, technology and industry partnerships to maintain profitability in their operations. She also discusses policy implications in states like California and nationally.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The 900 member cooperatives of the NRECA have a keen eye on potential infrastructure legislation that may come before the 116th Congress. After serving seven terms in the House of Representatives, Matheson hopes a good portion of those funds will be directed to rural zip codes and pointed toward more than roads and bridges. Matheson speaks to a Trump administration proposal to sell some PMA assets, a need for investment in rural broadband and how potential climate change legislation could affect system reliability and affordability of electric service to rural America.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Following an open forum with farmers in Georgetown, Kentucky last week, Administrator Wheeler discussed the growing issue of food waste, an update on allowing E-15 sales all year, small refinery waivers to the Renewable Fuel Standard, the next steps in approving new Waters of the U.S. regulations, glyphosate safety and thoughts on legislative and regulatory responses to address climate change.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is David Hollinrake, president of Syngenta Seeds, LLC, and North American Regional Director. In this interview Hollinrake discusses the consolidation trend of both farmers and global agriculture and the technological advances which will enable farmers to sustainably produce more crops with fewer inputs. A number of studies suggest an even smaller universe of farmers will produce an even greater percentage of total food output. The paradigm shift suggests world class competition among companies to bring innovation to a shrinking customer base. Hollinrake identifies both the opportunities and challenges for companies and the customers they serve.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is California 16th District Representative Jim Costa. As Chair of the House Ag Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, Costa is in the thick of key debates before the 116th Congress on labor, trade, livestock and nutrition assistance and plans an upcoming hearing on dairy policy. Costa is convinced the earth’s climate is changing but doesn’t believe the “aspirational” Green New Deal is the right strategy to guide the nation in reducing its overall carbon footprint.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Ted McKinney. With hundreds of thousands of travel miles already logged, the former director of Indiana agriculture knows there are thousands more to go to find successful conclusions to trade agreements for U.S. farmers and ranchers. McKinney is patiently optimistic for a successful conclusion to the trade war with China and ready to begin bi-lateral talks with Japan. McKinney offers insight to ratification of the USMCA, the urgency of ending U.S. metals tariffs, trade with Europe and the overall objective of diversifying the nation’s global customer base.