This week’s guest on Open Mic is Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay. All eyes are on the next scheduled talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement amid anticipation of a breakthrough in the more challenging agriculture issues. MacAulay tells Agri-Pulse that “trade creates wealth.” He says Canada has no intention of walking away from the talks but will only sign a good agreement. MacAulay says negotiators were successful 23 years ago and he’s hopeful they can do it again.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Alex Moore, Chief Development Officer with the DC Central Kitchen. Hunger and poverty threaten hundreds of thousands of individuals in the DC area daily. Moore, along with the staff and volunteers of this nationally acclaimed nonprofit, feed thousands daily and offer job training and food education for people in need in DC and across the country. Moore says changes to federal food assistance programs would only heap an even greater burden on theirs and other organizations who stand in the gap for those in need. Defining the challenge Moore said, “Poverty’s not the moral failing of people. Poverty is a moral failure of a country that tolerates it.”
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tom Halverson, CEO of CoBank. As farmers and Ranchers deal with what appears to be another year of low commodity prices, Tom Halverson says there are other challenges that could add to the financial strain on the nation’s ag producers. In this interview, Halverson talks about the need for a new farm bill, open access to global markets and the downside of potentially higher interest rates. Halverson echoes President Trump’s call for infrastructure investment and believes the tax reform legislation is positive for the agriculture industry.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, President and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. After a year on the job at USDEC, Vilsack says dairy farmers are counting on folks in Washington to grow global market access and deliver better support programs for the country’s dairy farmers. Vilsack says withdrawing from NAFTA would bring the worst possible outcome for agriculture and the dairy industry. He also discusses the upcoming farm bill and how failure to improve the current Margin Protection Program would bring more hardships on small and medium-sized dairy farmers. The Iowa Democrat offers his support for immigration reform and offers advice for candidates trying to win votes in rural America.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. After only a few weeks in his new role, McKinney has already traveled thousands of miles on behalf of U.S. farmers and ranchers. In this interview Indiana’s former Director of Agriculture outlines the coordinated efforts of the Trump administration on trade, identifies potential market opportunities and speaks to the need for domestic infrastructure investment. McKinney outlines the current NAFTA negotiations and speaks to trade relations with both Canada and Japan.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Jerry Moran. The Kansas Republican participated in the American Farm Bureau Convention last week in Nashville and provided a pessimistic forecast for Congress to complete a new farm bill in 2018. Immediately, legislators face another spending deadline this week as well as consideration of disaster assistance and immigration issues. Moran supports continued efforts for better trade agreements and says NAFTA is simply too important to the nation for the Trump Administration to threaten a withdrawal. Senator Moran voted for tax reform and outlines areas he expect to see improvement in the nation’s economy.