This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tom Nassif, President and CEO of Western Growers who discusses his group’s concerns about trade, immigration reform and the Trump Administration. Nassif, a former member of the Reagan administration, says it is time for the U.S. to say “enough is enough” to unfair global trading partners but fears the economic backlash of an extended and exhaustive global trade war. Nassif explains why Western Growers oppose the Goodlatte immigration reform proposal and doesn’t believe supporters will find the votes to address the issue this year- despite the urgent need to address labor issues.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is John Weber an Iowa hog farmer and a past president of the National Pork Producers Council. In this interview Weber reflects on the U.S. pork industry’s efforts to ramp up production to compete for a larger share of a growing global marketplace for their product. Now with a future clouded by retaliation from Trump trade tariffs, Weber says its time for the administration to deliver on promised bilateral trade deals and get involved in 21st century global trade. Weber also comments on continued hopes for immigration reform for the ag labor workforce and administration efforts toward new WOTUS regulations.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is economist Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge and Exchange Division. With an already depressed farm economy and concerns about trade relationships with global trading partners, Kowalski says the industry has a lot at riding on the success of the Trump administration’s trade policy. CoBank says Canada, Mexico and China consume 30 percent of U.S. agriculture exports and over twice that amount is tied to nations either in trade negotiations or all out trade disputes. Kowalski says the government’s plan to support farm losses from trade could run into billions of dollars and says the situation heightens pressure on Washington to provide a timely farm bill this year.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Congressman Dan Newhouse. Trade and labor are said to be the top two issues facing farmers in his 4th congressional district. In this interview, Newhouse talks about the critical need for fair and open markets as well as the shortage of available workers that’s costing his state’s agriculture industry millions of dollars annually. The former state ag director continues to work toward reform of the nation’s immigration laws and looks forward to another attempt at an ag labor bill later this month.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tom Sleight, President and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. The Trump trade agenda has provided much anxiety in the nation’s ag industry on escalating tension between major trading partners and the threat of an all out trade war. Tom Sleight offers insight on the significance of the NAFTA renegotiating effort with Canada and Mexico as well as other global trading partners. Sleight says China offers tremendous potential for U.S. feed grain and co-product exports including ethanol, but not without a more stable trade relationship.
This week’s guest on Open Mic is Kevin Skunes, President of the National Corn Growers Association. Corn farmers have grave concerns over President Trump’s trade agenda as well as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s actions reducing volume demand for ethanol. In this week’s interview North Dakota’s Kevin Skunes voices farmer concerns over lost corn demand for renewable fuel and the potential loss of export market access. Skunes says corn farmers applaud the Senate Ag Committee’s approval of a new farm bill and look forward to pending full floor debate of new farm laws.