This week’s guest on Open Mic is Bob Young, President of Agricultural Prospects. With major trade and policy decisions facing agriculture in the new year, Bob sheds light on prospects for an upswing in farm income, the opportunities for expanding global trade and the dismal outlook if current negotiations fail. Now retired after a career including FAPRI, the Senate Agriculture Committee and Chief Economist at the American Farm Bureau, Young offers insight on major policy decisions facing Congress including support level triggers and calls for means tests for program participants.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Ambassador Darci Vetter, former Chief Agricultural Negotiator and current diplomat in residence at the University of Nebraska.
Ambassador Vetter recently joined the Farmers for Free Trade coalition as an advisor to the board. In this week’s interview the Ambassador embellishes on the challenges of discussing trade agreements and the need for farmers and the agriculture industry to bring clarity to the opportunities and implications of trade deals. Ambassador Vetter says trade deficits aren’t the proper scale to judge trade agreements. She says trade relationships may have been irreparably damaged and isn’t surprised that Mexico is now diversifying its agriculture import sources.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte. The Virginia Republican announced earlier this year that he will not seek another term. In his time remaining, Goodlatte is intent on amending the nation’s guest worker program. He supports tax reform and sees a need to amend the nation’s nutrition programs. Goodlatte does not support the Renewable Fuels Standard blending mandates and agrees efforts are needed to end or amend the program.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. While countless farm groups and members of the agriculture industry have expressed concern with the Trump Administration’s threats to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Secretary Perdue supports the president and anticipates a successful conclusion to the talks. The former Georgia governor says USDA service to farmers is being affected by key vacancies at the department. Perdue speaks to challenges against the RFS, identifies recent decisions regarding the nation’s school lunch program and previews findings from the Rural Prosperity Task Force.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Nebraska Rep. Adrian Smith. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, the 3rd district representative has been deeply involved in tax reform efforts. With separate tax bills approved in both chambers, Smith is hopeful the tax code revisions will support farmers and small business owners as well as encourage the corporate community to spend more on employees and wages. The GOP Congressman is supportive of trade agreements and cautious of negotiations that might limit agriculture’s access to global markets. Smith has introduced renewable fuels legislation and offers his thoughts on amending the RFS.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Ed Elfmann, Senior Vice President for Ag and Rural Banking Policy with the American Bankers Association. Rural bankers are cautiously optimistic as they face a challenging agriculture economic climate in the year ahead. In this week’s interview Elfmann addresses the impact of higher interest rates on farm loans, identifies priority issues within the new farm bill and outlines unique regulatory hurdles rural bankers must endure to serve farmers, businesses and individual in communities across the country.