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Agri-Pulse Open Mic

In depth interviews with leaders in ag policy

Latest Episode

Open Mic: Steve Nicholson, Global Sector Strategist, Rabobank

This week’s Open Mic guest is Steve Nicholson, Global Sector Strategist for Grains and Oilseeds with Rabobank. In this interview, Nicholson discusses the mixed signals the Federal Reserve is sifting through as it continues to battle inflation. While there improvements in the economy, Nicholson says higher rates impact capital intensive businesses like transportation and agriculture. He says farmers need clear answers on risk management tools a new farm bill should provide.

June 23 • 24m 28s

Episodes

Open Mic: Steve Nicholson, Global Sector Strategist, Rabobank cover art

Open Mic: Steve Nicholson, Global Sector Strategist, Rabobank

This week’s Open Mic guest is Steve Nicholson, Global Sector Strategist for Grains and Oilseeds with Rabobank. In this interview, Nicholson discusses the mixed signals the Federal Reserve is sifting through as it continues to battle inflation. While there improvements in the economy, Nicholson says higher rates impact capital intensive businesses like transportation and agriculture. He says farmers need clear answers on risk management tools a new farm bill should provide.

June 23 • 24m 28s
Open Mic:  Gregg Doud, President and CEO NMPF cover art

Open Mic: Gregg Doud, President and CEO NMPF

This weeks Open Mic Guest is Gregg Doud, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.  The H5N1 virus in dairy cattle has presented yet another challenge for the dairy industry.  Doud says extensive testing by FDA confirms the pasteurization process is effective in keeping milk and dairy products safe for consumers.  Doud says USDA now believes the disease is being spread between dairy farms by mechanical means.  The industry is monitoring existing protocols and closing gaps that may have led to the disease spread to a number of dairy states in the nation. Doud also comments on Federal Milk Marketing Order reform and a USDA proposal that will be released soon, and he also talks about the House Ag Committee’s farm bill proposal.

June 16 • 25m 26.7s
Open Mic: Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO cover art

Open Mic: Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO

This week’s Open Mic guest is Dan Halstrom, President and CEO of the US Meat Export Federation. While the USDA is forecasting an even larger agriculture trade deficit this year, meat export sales are an exception to the rule. Halstrom says despite a strong dollar pork exports are up in both volume and value. Despite shorter beef supplies, Halstrom says global demand is still robust. Red meat export sales are providing a positive return on investment in federal promotion dollars but Halstrom says there are headwinds the industry still must overcome.

June 9 • 25m 47s
Open Mic: Chandler Goule, CEO National Association of Wheat Growers cover art

Open Mic: Chandler Goule, CEO National Association of Wheat Growers

This week’s Open Mic guest is Chandler Goule, CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers. He has served in the halls of Congress and for the nation’s crop farmers over his extensive career in Washington.  Goule says failure to enact a new farm bill will only heap greater challenges on policy writers in 2025 and leave farmers with a policy that does not accurately reflect the financial risks producers face. Goule says the nation is losing wheat acres and growers to other crops that benefit from both advanced genetics and demand from new uses. NAWG supports crops for renewable fuels, but says unintended consequences from trade, farm policy and research could lead to dire and unintended consequences for the nation’s number one food grain and its growers.

June 2 • 25m 8.7s
Open Mic: Chuck Conner, President and CEO NCFC cover art

Open Mic: Chuck Conner, President and CEO NCFC

This week’s Open Mic guest is Chuck Conner, President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. A veteran of 9 farm bills, Conner's been on the markup side of policy on the Hill and the implementation side at USDA. Conner notes most of the bill’s debate on the House Ag Committee was more about nutrition programs than the farm safety net, but real differences remain between key players and should be worked out as the bill advances. He also discusses actions to address California's Prop. 12 and the adverse impacts on those least able to afford higher food prices.

May 26 • 23m 32.4s
Open Mic: Jim Matheson, CEO NRECA cover art

Open Mic: Jim Matheson, CEO NRECA

This week’s Open Mic guest is Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The nation’s rural cooperatives are being pushed to increase base load capacity to meet growing demand from businesses and computer storage facilities. But at the same time, new emission standards by the Environmental Protection Agency threaten the existence of generating plants providing electric service to more than 42 million Americans in 48 states. Matheson says as much as 80% of the power used by cooperatives comes from fossil fuels, including both natural gas and coal, and NRECA is pursuing litigation to stay and overturn the EPA’s new rules.

May 19 • 23m 48.4s
Kailee Tkacz Buller, President and CEO of the National Oilseed Processors Association cover art

Kailee Tkacz Buller, President and CEO of the National Oilseed Processors Association

This week’s Open Mic guest is Kailee Tkacz Buller, President and CEO of the National Oilseed Processors Association. The nation’s oilseed processing industry has rapidly been expanding capacity to meet growing demand for their products. Many new plants have been built, others are under construction and additional processing capacity could be added pending public policy decisions. Buller says renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel hold tremendous opportunities for further oilseed industry expansion. Buller hopes 40Z tax credit rules will include more acceptable climate smart production practices and less bundling. NOPA opposes policies that place caps on vegetable oil capacity and encourage imports of used cooking oil from foreign countries.

May 12 • 24m 56.5s
Bill Hurley, AGCO Corporation cover art

Bill Hurley, AGCO Corporation

This week’s guest on Open Mic is Bill Hurley, Vice President of Global Government Affairs for AGCO Corporation and Chairman of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers Agriculture Sector Board.  This week “A Celebration of Modern Agriculture” returns to the National Mall in Washington D.C. The event features a display of the technology in farm machinery that’s helping to feed and fuel a growing global population. Exhibiting companies will share how advanced technology is helping farmers not only increase production but also protect the environment  with improved sustainability.  Hurley says technology enables farmers to apply precision practices to individual plants in a field.

May 5 • 24m 51.2s
Dr. Frank Mitloehner, UC Davis cover art

Dr. Frank Mitloehner, UC Davis

This week’s guest on Open Mic is Dr. Frank Mitloehner, a professor and air quality specialist at UC Davis who also leads the CLEAR Center, concentrating on research and communications. He has been helping the global community better understand the positive impact of livestock on marginal farmlands and opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of dairy digestors and feed additives. Mitloehner wants people to make informed decisions about the foods we eat, while reducing environmental impacts.

April 28 • 22m 34.6s
Beth Ellikidis, Vice President, Agriculture and Environment for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization cover art

Beth Ellikidis, Vice President, Agriculture and Environment for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization

This week’s guest on Open Mic is Beth Ellikidis, Vice President, Agriculture and Environment for the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. The Biden administration recently announced its Bioeconomy Board, creating new products and services to boost the U.S. economy and workforce and enhance our quality of life and the environment. Ellikidis says BIO’s goal is simply to advocate for the possible. She sees products that will improve agriculture productivity while at the same time lessen the industry’s environmental footprint. Ellikidis says the nation’s regulatory structure is strained to keep up with scientific advancements provided by fast-moving private industry research.

April 21 • 23m 29.6s
Barbara O’Brien, President and CEO of Dairy Management Incorporated cover art

Barbara O’Brien, President and CEO of Dairy Management Incorporated

This week’s Open Mic guest is Barbara O’Brien, President and CEO of Dairy Management Incorporated.  O’Brien has more than 20 years of experience working for dairy farmers and in the dairy industry. Through challenges of the cyclical nature of the industry as well as the pandemic and shifting consumer trends, the industry is holding it’s own with consumers and developing partnerships with the food industry that’s expanding the positive message of milk and other dairy products. O’Brien addresses the effort the dairy industry has put forward toward good nutrition, sustainable production and overall product safety.

April 14 • 24m 24.9s
Michael AuBuchon, Managing Director of Fuel Strategies and Management, Southwest Airlines Company cover art

Michael AuBuchon, Managing Director of Fuel Strategies and Management, Southwest Airlines Company

This week’s Open Mic guest is Michael AuBuchon, Managing Director of Fuel Strategies and Management for Southwest Airlines Company. Farmers and the renewable fuel industry are eagerly anticipating the exponential growth potential of satisfying demand from the airline industry for sustainable aviation fuel. AuBuchon reports a significant investment from Southwest Airlines Company for the development and production of SAF from renewable ethanol. Southwest has targeted goals toward ramping up production of cleaner burning fuel to help meet their climate goals by 2030 and beyond. AuBuchon says decisions over the amended GREET model and pending tax advantages from the Inflation Reduction Act as well as other state government incentives will play a vital role in meeting their demand for millions of gallons of cleaner burning fuel for their planes.

April 7 • 24m 46.5s
Dr. Georgia Machell, Interim President and CEO of the National WIC Association cover art

Dr. Georgia Machell, Interim President and CEO of the National WIC Association

This week’s Open Mic guest is Dr. Georgia Machell, Interim President and CEO of the National WIC Association. The WIC program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.  The program finds itself a beneficiary of additional financial resources but also in need of legislation to extend coverage to a growing population in need. Machell says barely half of those who qualify for services actually are receiving benefits. The Modern WIC Act would provide additional funds, but political gridlock in Washington over nutrition spending doesn’t provide much hope for a quick resolution. Machell says WIC administrators are working to address program diversity issues.

March 30 • 21m 8.9s
Sen. Joni Ernst, R - Iowa cover art

Sen. Joni Ernst, R - Iowa

This week’s Open Mic guest is U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. Agriculture was once a strong contributor to a positive trade balance, but is forecast to be in deficit this year. Ernst faults the Biden administration’s lack of effort in securing global trade deals for U.S. farmers. The Iowa Republican sees little chance for a farm bill this calendar year but hopes for better chances in 2025. Ernst also discusses results of a GAO report indicating the majority of USDA employees have not returned to work in their Washington, D.C. offices.

March 24 • 21m 24.8s
Julie Anna Potts, Meat Institute cover art

Julie Anna Potts, Meat Institute

This week’s Open Mic guest is Julie Anna Potts, CEO of the Meat Institute. A new logo and brand identity of the group formerly known as the North American Meat Institute is being celebrated this week at the Annual Meat Conference in Nashville. The group’s purpose is summarized to highlight both nourishment and sustainability. In this interview, Potts discusses the group’s mission, efforts toward sustainability, the Biden administration’s amendments to the Packers and Stockyards Act, the new voluntary Product of the USA meat labels, Proposition 12 and the ill effects of the smallest cattle inventory since the 1950’s.

March 17 • 26m 38.3s
Daybreak: March 13, 2024 cover art

Daybreak: March 13, 2024

March 12
Ambassador Doug McKalip, USTR cover art

Ambassador Doug McKalip, USTR

This week’s Open Mic guest is Doug McKalip, chief agriculture negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The nation’s producers reaped the benefits of shorter supplies of global agriculture products over the past few years, but a stronger dollar and an increase in supply have brought headwinds to international trade. USDA's most recent ag forecast suggests a trade deficit for U.S. agriculture, and there hasn’t been an announcement of a new trade deal in some time, and the Biden administration has concentrated on reducing tariffs as a means of improving ag trade. McKalip says the U.S. won’t give in to Mexico’s challenge of genetically modified crops and is contemplating its next move in trade relations with Canada over dairy policy.

March 10 • 26m 9.7s
RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger cover art

RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger

This week’s Open Mic guest is Marcia Bunger, administrator of the USDA’s Risk Management Agency. The crop insurance program is listed by many farm groups as the industry's most significant risk management tool, and participation has grown in both acres covered and products offered by the agency. The program price tag has increased due to participation and as well by devastating natural disasters across the country. Policies for dairy, specialty crops, and double-crop acres have brought more farmers to the table. Bunger says risk management tools are essential for farmers seeking loans to plant crops or expand their operations.

March 3 • 23m 52.2s
Steve Reinhard, United Soybean Board cover art

Steve Reinhard, United Soybean Board

This week’s Open Mic guest is Steve Reinhard, chairman of the United Soybean Board. The Ohio farmer leads the 77-member group that determines where checkoff dollars will be utilized to grow the industry and create opportunities for soybean farmers. Reinhard sees a paradigm shift in demand for soybean oil which should lead to increased domestic crush and more competitive meal prices for exports and the domestic livestock sector. While functioning in the shadow of Brazilian soybean production and export volume, Reinhard says the U.S. commitment to sustainability and overall product quality will keep it viable globally. Reinhard says soy biodiesel and sustainable aviation fuel hold tremendous opportunities for the soybean industry.

February 25 • 22m 37.5s
Lori Taylor, The Produce Moms cover art

Lori Taylor, The Produce Moms

This week’s guest on Open Mic is Lori Taylor, founder and CEO of The Produce Moms. While working as a sales marketing professional in the produce industry, Taylor recognized the need of Millennial moms and others for a reliable and comprehensive online destination for facts and information to meet the challenge of improving diets with fruits and vegetables. The “community” as she describes the site provides nutritional information on fruits and vegetables, offers recipes and even brand name information. Taylor strongly supports the nation’s nutrition programs and believes in the partnership of medicine and food for better health.

February 18 • 26m 11.1s
Tom Buis, American Carbon Alliance CEO cover art

Tom Buis, American Carbon Alliance CEO

This week’s Open Mic guest is Tom Buis, CEO of the American Carbon Alliance. Buis has a long history of service to the agriculture industry. He’s been a farmer, worked in Congress, served a farm organization and the renewable fuel industry. He’s emerged from retirement to promote the renewable fuel industry’s need to lower its carbon score with pipelines.  Buis says the nation needs multiple sources of energy and should allow ethanol producers to capture carbon and safely store it in qualified geological areas of the nation. Buis sees tremendous opportunity for farmers and rural America if ethanol can be a feedstock for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. Without an improved carbon credit score, Buis says farmers, the environment and the economy will suffer.

February 11 • 23m 54.8s
Emily Metz, American Egg Board cover art

Emily Metz, American Egg Board

This week’s Open Mic guest is Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board. Metz says producers have met and exceeded retail demand for “cage-free” eggs but are anxious to learn what demand issues may be revealed for future production. Metz says the egg industry is closely watching discussion from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee as they prepare to offer recommendations next year and FDA efforts to define healthy foods and set parameters on front of package labeling.

February 4 • 26m 24.5s
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla. cover art

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla. On the sidelines of last week’s American Farm Bureau convention in Salt Lake City, Lucas lamented the political headwinds of writing new farm and food policy. Lucas said the nation’s spending plan is most challenging and provides inadequate resources for the hungry and producers facing a challenging economic climate. Lucas says more funds are needed and believes reallocating previously approved dollars is the best financial solution. Without those resources, Lucas would favor another extension of the 2018 farm bill to give more time for Congress to allocate resources. Lucas is keen on a pending SCOTUS decision on regulatory deference and wants an “all of the above” approach to the nation’s energy policy.

January 28 • 24m 0.1s
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. cover art

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. While legislators have agreed on a new short-term spending plan to avoid a shutdown, final work on the nation’s purse strings for FY24 remains in the balance. Hoeven believes there’s still time to approve a new farm bill this year, but says there needs to be more “farm in the farm bill,” saying the farm safety net should share in spending increases being proposed for nutrition. Hoeven believes conservation funds approved in the Inflation Reduction Act should be used to upgrade the farm safety net and is cautious of using CCC funds to support reference prices.

January 21 • 21m 15.7s
Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association cover art

Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association

This week’s Open Mic guest is Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. The Iowa caucuses once again provide the opportunity to press the merits of the renewable fuels industry on those hopeful to gain the White House in November. Cooper believes his industry isn’t seeing a balanced regulatory approach from the Biden administration. On the regulatory front, RFA is watching for amendments to modeling that will determine Inflation Reduction Act tax credit eligibility and staunchly disagrees with proposed EPA tailpipe emission standards. Cooper says sustainable aviation fuel has the potential to revolutionize the renewable fuels industry, but not without resolving pipeline issues in several states.

January 14 • 25m 8.1s
Kam Quarles, National Potato Council CEO cover art

Kam Quarles, National Potato Council CEO

This week’s Open Mic guest is Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council. The potato industry is worth billions to the nation’s economy but is facing strong headwinds from regulatory issues, farm policy and global trade access. The group’s annual Potato Expo is expected to see record attendance this week in Austin, Texas including a presentation by USTR Chief Ag Negotiator Doug McKalip. Quarles says the industry is caught up in debate over the potato’s place in nutritional guidelines for adults and children.

January 7 • 24m 11.2s
Steve Censky, ASA cover art

Steve Censky, ASA

This week’s Open Mic guest is Steve Censky, CEO of the American Soybean Association. ASA was among the chorus of agriculture groups pleased to see an extension of the 2018 farm bill as time ran out to produce a new bill in 2023, and Censky hopes congressional leaders can make progress early in 2024 on new policy. He says soybean growers want higher reference prices and a voluntary update for base acres in a new bill. Censky has worries about the EPA’s implementation of Endangered Species Act regulations on pesticides and is very encouraged about the benefits of renewable fuels for the soybean industry.

December 31 • 25m 11.2s
Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Feeding America cover art

Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Feeding America

This week’s Open Mic guest is Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. The story of hunger and food insecurity continues to grow in the U.S. and around the world. Feeding America is a national food bank serving millions of hungry Americans. The number of food-insecure adults and children swelled during the COVID-19 pandemic, but recent data from the USDA suggests millions more don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Babineaux-Fontenot supports change in nutrition programs to better assist individuals in enjoying nutrient-dense foods and getting back on their feet.

December 23 • 22m 17.7s
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss. cover art

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith. The Mississippi Republican stands firm on protecting farmers in her Delta state. She recognizes the financial challenges of writing a new farm bill and believes funding in the Inflation Reduction Act would be better served by bolstering the overall safety net for farmers than existing conservation programs. Hyde-Smith discounts the idea of an Adjusted Gross Income means test for farmers in the crop insurance program andjoins a long list of agriculture groups and other legislators who disagree with the USDA’s administration of ERP funds. Hyde-Smith says livestock farmers need relief from losses caused by predatory animals.

December 17 • 25m 2.7s
Krysta Harden, USDEC cover art

Krysta Harden, USDEC

This week’s Open Mic guest is Krysta Harden, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Dairy farmers and processors are frustrated with a recent trade ruling favoring Canada’s import restrictions on U.S. dairy products. Harden says the industry isn’t finished with the issue and is surveying options in the matter. Harden says the volume and value of dairy exports for 2023 will be short of the record marks set last year. In the upcoming farm bill, Harden says the industry hopes for continued support for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development funding.

December 10 • 24m 39.3s
Todd Van Hoose, Farm Credit Council cover art

Todd Van Hoose, Farm Credit Council

This week’s Open Mic guest is Todd Van Hoose, president and CEO of the Farm Credit Council. Van Hoose is grateful Washington delivered an extension of the 2018 farm bill but joins a chorus of other agriculture organizations calling for new policy to be approved in early 2024. He says USDA loan programs and limits should be adjusted to reflect higher operating costs in today’s agriculture economy. The Council has mounted a challenge against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over language requiring the collection of data that Farm Credit says is already available through the Ag Census. Van Hoose discusses the need for base acre and reference price adjustments as well as needed assistance for young and beginning farmers.

December 3 • 24m 42.4s
NRCS Chief Terry Cosby cover art

NRCS Chief Terry Cosby

This week’s Open Mic guest is Terry Cosby, chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. After more than 40 years of working with landowners across the country, Cosby has seen a number of policy changes toward preserving the environment and improving soil health. Cosby says he is invigorated to see an emphasis on sustainability in modern agriculture practices and is grateful to have additional funds under the Inflation Reduction Act to serve more applicants for essential programs nationwide. Cosby says conservation policy can never be “one size fits all” but endeavors to employ the best conservation practices on every acre in the nation and ensure that his agency is mindful of diversity, equity and inclusion.

November 26 • 25m 5.8s
Rod Snyder, EPA Agriculture Advisor cover art

Rod Snyder, EPA Agriculture Advisor

This week’s Open Mic guest is EPA Agriculture Advisor, Rod Snyder. The Environmental Protection Agency often finds itself in the middle of converging opinions on pesticides, fuel and clean water issues. With 20 years of experience working for farm groups, farm associations and the chemical industry, Snyder is often the practical voice of reason at the agency’s decision making process. Snyder says flat budgets and a smaller staff make it difficult for the agency to accomplish its heavy work load. On crop protection products, Snyder stands by the work of EPA scientists and the safety protocols they employ. Snyder says his door is open to the agriculture community to voice their support and concerns.

November 19 • 25m 50.7s
Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall cover art

Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall

This week’s Open Mic guest is Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. Duvall is aware of the limited opportunity the congressional calendar affords for farm policy discussion on Capitol Hill, but that’s not keeping him and other farmers from pressing elected leaders for a new farm bill. The Georgia farmer says AFBF members support risk management tools that reflect the price structure of today’s farm economy and support effective nutrition programs for those in need. Duvall says the organization's resolutions process is underway for the policy delegates will consider at their annual meeting in January in Salt Lake City. In this interview, Duvall discusses expanding crop insurance, the farm labor workforce, energy and trade policy and ongoing negotiations with the EPA over the new Waters of the U.S. definition.

November 12 • 24m 8.4s
Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif. cover art

Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Congressman Jim Costa. The California Democrat represents the agriculture rich 21st district of the state. Costa is hopeful new leadership in the House will lead to compromise on fiscal and agriculture policy. Costa shares concerns about the “pay fors” needed for a new farm bill but says minority members on the Agriculture committee will not support cuts to either nutrition programs or IRA conservation funds. Costa says he would support an extension of the 2018 farm bill, but says legislators should forge ahead with a new farm bill as soon as possible.

November 5 • 22m 54.5s
Jason Clay, World Wildlife Fund cover art

Jason Clay, World Wildlife Fund

This week’s Open Mic guest is Jason Clay, executive director of the Markets Institute for the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF has worked for more than 60 years in over 100 countries with a mission of helping people and nature survive. Clay’s roots stretch back to a family farm, and his vision is that of helping to ensure an adequate supply of food for generations to come. He says the response to climate change must be to develop gains in efficiency and productivity to meet the growing demand for food. On ag policy, Clay says the group supports modern farming practices and large-scale agriculture and is actively involved in lobbying for a new farm bill with certain changes in program outcomes.

October 29 • 25m 33.2s
Todd Wilkinson, NCBA cover art

Todd Wilkinson, NCBA

This week’s Open Mic guest is Todd Wilkinson, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The South Dakota producer is glad to see the profitability pendulum swing back in the beef producer's favor. He is concerned about the health of the overall industry during this period of herd rebuilding. Wilkinson sees much riding on the approval of a new farm bill from a producer protection standpoint as well as critical conservation programs. He and other industry members are just back from the World Meat Congress where antagonists to the meat industry were well defined.

October 22 • 26m 16.3s
Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla. cover art

Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla. The House Ag Committee member has joined her colleagues in the search for new leadership, but also believes many of her fellow Republicans could benefit from a reexamination of their approach to governing. Cammack has taken a special interest in the issue of broadband service for rural America, and with a new farm bill in the works, Cammack discusses some commodity program changes that would be a major benefit to her home state.

October 15 • 23m 27.1s
Dave Puglia, Western Growers cover art

Dave Puglia, Western Growers

This week’s Open Mic guest is Dave Puglia, president and CEO of Western Growers. Challenges to the fresh produce industry are too numerous to mention, but food safety, an adequate workforce, water supply, crop protection tools and regulations continue to impact the future for Western Growers. Still, Puglia says legislators cannot simply “rubber stamp” an extension of the 2018 farm bill. Puglia laments the passing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and shares his concern for the leadership shake-up in the House of Representatives.

October 8 • 22m 50.9s
Tim Lust, National Sorghum Producers cover art

Tim Lust, National Sorghum Producers

This week’s Open Mic guest is Tim Lust, CEO of the National Sorghum Producers. Like other farmers, the nation’s sorghum producers are looking to Capitol Hill for an updated farm bill with adequate risk management tools to negotiate many financial, climate and market-based challenges. Lust says Washington has been tardy in delivering promised disaster relief funds much to the detriment of growers still facing dry soils. In this interview, Lust discusses regulatory challenges and market opportunities including renewable fuels and climate-based revenue options.

October 1 • 24m 54.3s
Ted McKinney, NASDA CEO cover art

Ted McKinney, NASDA CEO

This week’s Open Mic guest is Ted McKinney, Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Fresh off of the group’s annual meeting earlier this month in Wyoming, state ag leaders, along with the rest of the ag community are keeping an eye on Washington for signs of a path forward for a Fiscal Year 2024 budget and signs of life for a new farm bill. McKinney discusses both sides of a continuing resolution to keep the government running, frustrations with the Biden EPA over its development of a new definition of WOTUS, California’s Proposition 12, and the Biden Administration’s efforts on global trade.

September 24 • 24m 32.9s
Rob Larew, National Farmers Union President cover art

Rob Larew, National Farmers Union President

This week’s Open Mic guest is Rob Larew, President of the National Farmers Union. Several hundred farmers and ranchers from across the nation were in Washington last week to hear updates from the USDA and Congressional leaders. Larew says farmer attitudes are as varied as weather conditions across the country. Larew says Congress can’t simply rubber stamp the 2018 farm bill and expect to meet the needs of crop and livestock producers in today’s economic environment nor can they expect outdated programs and triggers to protect producers through what promises to be continued volatility in the years ahead. NFU members want to see changes in cattle price discovery and are adamant about seeing changes in beef labeling.

September 17 • 24m 5.2s
Jackie Applegate, Bayer Crop Science cover art

Jackie Applegate, Bayer Crop Science

This week’s Open Mic guest is Jackie Applegate, president of Bayer Crop Science North America. On the sidelines of the recent Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, Applegate discussed many of the company's latest efforts, including a collaboration to help fight hunger, the latest innovations from Bayer, new partnerships with other companies, ongoing challenges from regulations in the U.S. and pushback from technologies by other nations of the world. Applegate shares the need for public and private research to develop production techniques to achieve sustainability goals as well as increases in productivity.

September 10 • 21m 6.7s
Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill. cover art

Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill. On the sidelines of the 70th Annual Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, the House Ag Republican discussed the congressional agenda leading to the end of the fiscal year. Bost says the farm bill is critical to his district, and after spending time with House Ag Chair Glenn "G.T." Thompson, Bost believes new policy will be introduced soon after legislators return this month. In this interview, Bost discusses the nation’s infrastructure, broadband, electrical grid, renewable fuels and rural healthcare.

September 3 • 23m 38.1s
Tim Trotter, Edge cover art

Tim Trotter, Edge

This week’s Open Mic guest is Tim Trotter, CEO of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative. It’s a perfect storm of policymaking as USDA has begun hearings to explore Federal Milk Marketing Order reforms and Congress is working to write a new farm bill. Dairy industry diversity is a blessing — representing various regions, size of operations and end uses for milk — but also marks significant challenges when considering producer supports and reform of marketing policy. Edge represents more than 800 members who ship primarily to private processors. Trotter says it will take a delicate balance to find the right solutions for both farmers and industry.

August 27 • 25m 27.3s
Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam cover art

Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam

This week’s Open Mic guest is Adam Putnam, CEO of Ducks Unlimited. In this interview, Putnam outlines the headwinds facing the approval of a new farm bill and how important the language remains for the food and conservation needs of the nation. Ducks Unlimited is part of a diverse group representing agricultural, environmental, forestry, wildlife, nutrition and hunger advocates urging Congress to approve a farm bill this year. Putnam cites voluntary conservation programs with the nation’s farmers as a significant factor in increased waterfowl populations across North America.

August 20 • 26m 24.2s
Bruce Rastetter, Summit Agricultural Group cover art

Bruce Rastetter, Summit Agricultural Group

This week’s Open Mic guest is Bruce Rastetter, founder and executive chairman of Summit Agricultural Group. Rastetter’s career includes feed sales, swine production and renewable fuels. In this interview, he speaks to headwinds to both the livestock production and renewable fuel sectors as well as opportunities for growth. He shares advice for future agricultural entrepreneurs and speaks to the need for a carbon pipeline and the ongoing challenges of gaining approval for its construction.

August 13 • 28m 37.3s
Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA CEO cover art

Shirley Bloomfield, NTCA CEO

This week’s Open Mic guest is Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association. Despite the work of several government agencies and billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars invested, there is still a significant number of Americans without broadband or adequate bandwidth to support effective service. Bloomfield says hundreds of for profit and non-profit companies are working to close the digital divide, but there are numerous terrain challenges as well as regulatory headwinds from Washington that stand in the way of providing service to rural areas. Bloomfield comments on the USDA’s ReConnect program and other supports from Washington that are helping to bring service to rural America.

August 6 • 25m 17.7s
Rep. Don Davis, D-N.C. cover art

Rep. Don Davis, D-N.C.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Don Davis, D-N.C. In his first term representing the state’s first district, Davis finds himself not only on the House Ag Committee but also helping to lead a bipartisan task force focused on agriculture labor issues and a farm bill task force of the New Democrat Coalition. Davis sees agriculture and rural issues as a priority for his district and the nation, but not the highest priority among elected leaders in Washington. Davis is committed to workable environmental policy for farmers and is anxious to see how the Biden administration will handle Waters of the United States rulemaking.

July 30 • 23m 9.3s
Dan Basse, AgResource cover art

Dan Basse, AgResource

This week’s Open Mic guest is Dan Basse, president of AgResource. As Congress prepares to write a new farm bill, Basse says the industry is seeing domestication of market structure. Despite regulatory headwinds from Washington, Basse believes demand for renewable energy feedstocks will command a greater presence in price discovery. Globally, Brazil may be nearing an end to its rapid expansion of production area while the Russian invasion may see a tremendous decline in Ukraine grain production. Basse sees India as a rising opportunity for U.S. ag exports while China remains a wild card with both production and imports.

July 23 • 25m 26.7s
Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association cover art

Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association

This week’s Open Mic guest is Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. The Biden administration’s vehicle emissions rulemaking is drawing fire from oil and agriculture industry groups over concerns the rule would be a de-facto ban on internal combustion engines in the future. RFA is one of more than 100 groups that wrote President Joe Biden recently asking for liquid transportation fuels and various engine technologies to be a part of the solution to meet the nation’s goals for reducing emissions. Cooper laments headwinds for renewable fuels from the last three administrations and says it’s time for legislation to define the regulatory role of the EPA.

July 16 • 24m 12.5s
Jim Matheson, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO cover art

Jim Matheson, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO

This week’s Open Mic guest is Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. After an extended tenure of serving his constituents in Utah in the U.S. House of Representatives, Matheson assumed the reins of the NRECA in 2016. Rural residents formed their own electric cooperatives in the 1930’s to bring electric service to their homes and communities. Today, those same member owned organizations serve over half of the land mass in the nation and more than 42-million customers. Matheson speaks to the challenges of meeting growing demand for electric power including electric generation and transmission. He is in favor of renewable energy sources but says the nation needs reliable power generation in the face of growing demand from industry, homes and an influx of electric vehicles. Matheson says the digital divide is real in rural America and the NRECA is working to close the digital gap for the sake of health care, education, precision agriculture and rural development.

July 9 • 24m 37.4s
House Ag Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson cover art

House Ag Committee Chairman Glenn Thompson

This week’s Open Mic guest is House Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson. After spending time with yet another farm bill listening session, the Pennsylvania Republican spent time reflecting on listening sessions in 40 states. Thompson says it’s evident that farm programs provide critical risk management tools in every state as well as conservation programs, food safety and nutrition. He acknowledges the financial obstacles of writing new farm policy but shares thoughts of pulling funds from various resources to fund programs. Thompson also shares insights from a labor task force he has appointed to survey agriculture’s need for an adequate workforce.

July 2 • 24m 47.2s
NPPC President Scott Hays cover art

NPPC President Scott Hays

This week’s Open Mic guest is Scott Hays, president of the National Pork Producers Council. As a fifth-generation pig farmer from Missouri, Hays says he’s gratified to see his children taking over the operation, but he recognizes the challenges facing his family and other operations across the country are more onerous than ever before. The economic climate has red ink flowing for producers this year with additional pressure coming from more regulations, challenging global market access, the threat of foreign animal disease and a lack of available labor. In this interview, Hays shares challenges and opportunities facing pig farmers in the nation today.

June 25 • 22m 12.8s
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash. cover art

Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, the Washington representative says leaders have a responsibility to maintain the financial security of the country. Newhouse says the committee's fiscal year 2024 USDA-FDA spending plan is less than a year ago, but is a fair compromise given the nation’s growing debt. In this interview, Newhouse discusses foreign land ownership, nutrition programs, food waste and legislation he’s introduced to protect gas stoves in millions of homes across America.

June 18 • 24m 37.1s
Ryan LeGrand, U.S. Grains Council cover art

Ryan LeGrand, U.S. Grains Council

This week’s Open Mic guest is Ryan LeGrand, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. Larger world supplies, a challenging global economy and the threat of trade restrictions are all weighing on the U.S. Grains Council’s goal of growing markets for American farmers. LeGrand is pleased with the Biden administration’s actions to challenge Mexico’s import ban on genetically modified white corn and other biotechnology issues. LeGrand says a record Brazilian corn crop is being offered at prices more discounted than the U.S. supplies and more bushels of wheat are being utilized in feed rations. LeGrand says the council could certainly make good use of additional trade promotion funds if they're available in a new farm bill.

June 11 • 23m 13.3s
Chef José Andrés cover art

Chef José Andrés

This week’s Open Mic guest is Chef José Andrés. The world-renowned, chef, author and humanitarian believes the power of food can change the world. Andrés recently announced a partnership with George Washington University to build a Global Food Institute to lead the world in food system delivery. Andrés says providing humanitarian food assistance may alleviate an immediate need for hungry nations or those experiencing tragedy, but a long-term investment is needed to support local farms and food systems. Andrés believes in a central government strategy focused on food to change people’s lives and the health of the planet

June 4 • 25m 39.7s
Neil Caskey, National Corn Growers Association cover art

Neil Caskey, National Corn Growers Association

This week’s Open Mic guest is Neil Caskey, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. At the time Congress is preparing to write a new farm bill, corn farmers are facing a period of high input costs and declining crop prices. Questions facing the future of ethanol consumption in the U.S. and challenges on the trade front with Mexico are all issues bearing down on corn farmers nationwide. Caskey says the country’s energy policy is also a concern and approval of the Next Generation Fuels Act is key to farmers and rural America.

May 28 • 25m 13.8s
Kevin Lucke, Chevron Renewable Energy Group cover art

Kevin Lucke, Chevron Renewable Energy Group

This week’s Open Mic guest is Kevin Lucke, president of Chevron Renewable Energy Group. Chevron’s 2022 purchase of the Renewable Energy Group represents a significant paradigm shift in the energy industry, but the acquisition is just a portion of the global company’s effort to provide low-carbon fuels for its customers. Lucke sees tremendous potential in renewable biodiesel and is collaborating with industry and farmers to boost the production of renewable fuel in addition to their petroleum-based products. Lucke believes in an “all of the above” approach to the nation’s energy needs but sees tremendous growth potential in renewable fuels.

May 21 • 23m 23.9s
Meagan Kaiser, United Soybean Board cover art

Meagan Kaiser, United Soybean Board

This week’s Open Mic guest is Meagan Kaiser, chair of the United Soybean Board. For more than 30 years, the soybean checkoff board has been investing farmer dollars to improve both opportunities and sustainability practices for soybean growers in the U.S. Kaiser says investments decades before in biodiesel and the food industry are now paying big dividends for growers, industry, the environment and consumers. Kaiser is just back from Rome and a meeting with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. She sees opportunity in the Farmers for Soil Health Partnership and praises the cooperation between USDA and agriculture groups to improve productivity and farmer contribution for a better environment.

May 14 • 22m 51.1s
Tom Ryan, Truterra cover art

Tom Ryan, Truterra

This week’s guest on Open Mic is Tom Ryan, President of Truterra.  Sustainability has become a new hurdle for farmers, agribusiness, industry and policymakers to address. Ryan says the private industry willing to invest in sustainable agriculture practices are as diverse as the farmers and soil they till to meet the demands placed on their overall productivity.  Truterra, the Sustainability Division of Land O Lakes is helping to bridge the opportunities of sustainable ag practices between those companies willing to invest and those farmers who have proven willing to embrace agronomic practices benefitting both productivity and sustainability. Ryan believes cooperation between farmers, USDA, ag retailers and industry can lead to shared success in environmental stewardship.

May 7 • 24m 39.2s
John Bode,Corn Refiners Association cover art

John Bode,Corn Refiners Association

This week’s Open Mic guest is John Bode, president and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association. Corn products are in 80% of the food and nonfood items in grocery stores today. Bode says the global sustainability effort is opening the doors of opportunity for the industry. Corn refiners support a strong farm safety net in the new farm bill as well as an increased investment of public dollars in ag research. Bode sees China’s growing presence in agricultural trade as a challenge for U.S. farmers and the corn refining industry.

April 30 • 22m 47.9s
Jim Mulhern, NMPF cover art

Jim Mulhern, NMPF

This week’s Open Mic guest is Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. Many in the dairy industry believe it’s time for the Federal Milk Marketing Order to be updated since much has changed in the industry over the last 23 years. The orders help guarantee an adequate supply of milk and dairy products as well as maintain orderly marketing decisions and there is disagreement in the industry on the extent of data that should be considered in the decision-making process. Mulhern describes the function of change and reasons NMPF believes this should be a more exhaustive process. He applauds progress on dairy product labeling but says legislation is needed to help consumers make educated decisions on the nutritional value of the products they buy.

April 23 • 24m 56.4s
Rep. Tracey Mann, R- Kansas cover art

Rep. Tracey Mann, R- Kansas

This week’s Open Mic guest is U.S. Representative Tracey Mann. The Kansas “Big First” representative believes the 118th Congress can deliver a farm bill this year, but not without significant challenges beginning with the impasse over the nation's debt ceiling, out of sync reference prices and a chasm of concern over nutrition assistance eligibility. Mann has concern over China’s aggression toward Taiwan and the significant paradigm shift from dependence on foreign oil to key minerals to make batteries for electric vehicles. Mann says his constituents have concerns over government regulations and taxes on established farms and small businesses.

April 16 • 24m 16.5s
Karl Anderson, SoAR Foundation cover art

Karl Anderson, SoAR Foundation

This week’s Agri-Pulse Open Mic guest is Karl Anderson, president of the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation. Since 2014, the SoAR Foundation has been working to increase public funding for agriculture research. Over the past few years, China, the European Union, India and other nations have continued to expand their work in food and agricultural research. During the same time, the number of U.S. researchers has fallen by more than 2,500. Anderson shares insight on the need for public dollars invested toward tomorrow’s innovation in food security.

April 9 • 23m 48s
Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind. cover art

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind. The Senate Ag Committee member's efforts on Capitol Hill have proven him an effective leader on key issues pertaining to agriculture and rural America. Braun teamed with Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., on the Growing Climate Solutions Act; now, he’s lending support to the SAFE Food Act, renewable fuels legislation and a bill to offer a legislative definition of a “Water of the U.S.” On trade, Braun believes Canada and Mexico should be held accountable for violations under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. On Capitol Hill, he says the debt ceiling debate has major implications for the next farm bill and nearly every other area of the nation’s financial future.

April 2 • 22m 37.3s
Rep. Angie Craig, D- Minnesota cover art

Rep. Angie Craig, D- Minnesota

This week’s Open Mic guest is, Minnesota Congresswoman Angie Craig. The 2nd District Democrat is a staunch supporter of both farm and nutrition programs and recognizes the challenge of meeting the needs of the nation while keeping an eye on overall spending. Craig supports Title 1 spending in the farm bill as well as crop insurance but says the biggest obstacle in writing new farm policy is protecting the interest of small and beginning farmers. Craig admits the nutrition title has a hefty price tag but doesn’t believe this is a time for Washington to turn its back on families in need. Craig supports renewable fuels and will again work in the new Congress to bring higher renewable blends to the nation’s consumers.  Craig isn’t satisfied with the EPA’s new Waters of the U.S. definition and would like to see a stronger push by the Biden administration on gaining market access for the nation’s farmers and ranchers.

March 26 • 23m 39.5s
Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb. cover art

Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb. In this interview, Fischer explains the need for legislation to approve year-round sales of E-15 for the nation. She looks forward to crafting a new farm bill but admits nutrition will again be challenging for both sides of the aisle. She stands firmly against Mexico’s ban on genetically modified corn and says trading partners must be held accountable to their commitments. Fischer supports the nation’s checkoff programs and opposes legislation to add restrictions to their operations.

March 19 • 24m 35.4s
Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D- Virginia cover art

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D- Virginia

This week’s Open Mic guest is Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. The 7th District Representative is a strong supporter of conservation, risk management and nutrition programs, but like others in the legislature, recognizes the budget constraints in writing new farm language this year. Spanberger says the implications of Russia’s attack on Ukraine and closer ties between Vladimir Putin and China are concerning. She sees the need for both border security and immigration reform. She shares concerns about an adequate work force. Spanberger believes minor changes could make the School Lunch Program and SNAP more effective for children and those families in need.

March 12 • 25m 41.4s
Kam Quarles, National Potato Council cover art

Kam Quarles, National Potato Council

This week’s Open Mic guest is Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council and the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance co-chair. After a year of negotiations, specialty crop producers have come to a conclusion on their priorities for the 2023 farm bill. In this interview, Quarles outlines a number of their objectives and responds to issues of trade, crop protection and sustainability. Quarles says improvements in crop insurance and risk management tools can benefit the outlook for growers of specialty crops, which accounts for more than half the farm gate value of crops produced in the U.S.

March 5 • 22m 50.9s
Michael Dykes, IDFA cover art

Michael Dykes, IDFA

This week’s Open Mic guest is Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. Despite many obstacles, the U.S. dairy industry enjoyed a record year for exports in 2022. Dykes hopes that pattern will continue as consumers around the globe search for affordable protein supplies. In this interview, Dykes appeals to the Biden administration to be more aggressive in negotiating trade opportunities for the dairy industry. He also shares his frustration with recent USDA recommendations to limit milk choices in various government nutrition programs. Finally, Dykes appeals for unity as the dairy industry looks to reform milk price discovery in the U.S.

February 26 • 23m 52.8s
Kurt Coffey, Case IH cover art

Kurt Coffey, Case IH

This week’s Open Mic guest is Kurt Coffey, Vice President of Case IH North America. The farm machinery industry continues to enjoy robust demand from farmers nationwide despite ongoing challenges from inflation, labor and shipping infrastructure. Coffey says the farm machinery pool is aging, and customers are anxious to acquire new technologies to offset a reduced labor force and meet sustainability goals. Coffey says autonomy and artificial intelligence are rapidly advancing in the farm machinery industry, and electric tractors are being introduced into the machinery pool.

February 19 • 23m 19.6s
Brian Kuehl, Farmers for Free Trade cover art

Brian Kuehl, Farmers for Free Trade

This week’s Open Mic guest is Brian Kuehl, executive director of Farmers for Free Trade. The group recently hosted a fly-in to give members the opportunity to encourage both Congress and the Biden administration to exert more energy on opening global market access through expanded trade agreements. Kuehl says trade should be a bipartisan issue, and legislative leaders must push the administration to act in the global trade arena. U.S. agriculture export value set a record last year, but this year's ag imports are expected to exceed export totals. Kuehl says it’s been a decade since the U.S. signed a free-trade agreement with Central America, and other countries have signed hundreds of deals expanding opportunities for their products.

February 12 • 24m 17.3s
NASDA CEO Ted McKinney cover art

NASDA CEO Ted McKinney

This week’s Open Mic guest is Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. The group has finalized its policy priorities for 2023 and is ready to assist lawmakers in developing a new farm bill. McKinney says NASDA members will let other farm groups take the lead on the specifics of commodity programs, but are very concerned that the U.S. is lagging in public agriculture research. NASDA is taking a greater interest in international trade and is pleased to see the Biden trade team engaged in global markets. McKinney says NASDA members oppose the EPA’s new Waters of the U.S. definition and want to see action on ag labor and workforce development issues.

February 5 • 23m 41.4s
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack cover art

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack

This week’s Open Mic guest is Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Citing recent research on farm income, the secretary is intently concerned about the financial outlook for small- and medium-sized farms in the nation. Vilsack believes alternative income streams from carbon sequestration, meat packing and next-generation fuels can provide opportunities for these operations to keep pace with economic challenges and survive their operations. Ahead of the upcoming farm bill process, Vilsack hopes for flexibility from Congress in providing disaster assistance to farms and rural communities. Vilsack and USDA staff have been in close consultations with Mexican leaders and industry on a proposed ban on U.S. GMO corn imports beginning next year.

January 29 • 24m 28.6s
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla. cover art

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla. The former House Ag Committee chairman is back on the panel in time to help craft a new farm bill, and he says the budget and spending will be an issue in nearly every policy proposal crossing the House floor in the 118th Congress. Lucas believes a new farm bill can be delivered on time in the year ahead but admits there could be a number of issues — including nutrition programs — that could slow work on the bill. Lucas also discusses the implications of concessions made by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to gain enough votes to secure the Speaker's gavel.

January 22 • 25m 6.6s
Steve Becraft, Southern States Cooperative cover art

Steve Becraft, Southern States Cooperative

This week’s Open Mic guest is Steve Becraft, general manager and CEO of Southern States Cooperative. The farmer-owned retailer is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Becraft acknowledges the many challenges farmers and their cooperative have survived and looks forward to new horizons of meeting the needs of the customers and communities they serve. After a recent marriage with Growmark, Becraft says the group is on solid financial footing. In this interview, Becraft discusses the challenges of urban sprawl, labor and transportation as well as the opportunity of helping farmers find sustainable solutions to improve productivity and efficiency in their operations.

January 15 • 22m 24.9s
Former NCGA CEO Jon Doggett cover art

Former NCGA CEO Jon Doggett

This week’s Open Mic guest is Jon Doggett, who retired as CEO of the National Growers Association at the end of 2022. In this interview, Doggett reflects on leaders and policy events in history where ag leaders met the challenges facing the industry. Doggett also discusses the role environmental issues may play in developing new farm programs, the odds of approving a new farm bill in 2023 and the implications of Mexico’s proposed ban on GMO corn.

January 8 • 23m 8.5s
Charles Baron, Farmers Business Network cover art

Charles Baron, Farmers Business Network

This week’s Open Mic guest is Charles Baron, co-founder and chief innovation officer of Farmers Business Network. What began as a small group of farmers sharing seed performance information has become an international network of thousands of farmers and millions of acres. FBN has expanded its original model of data sharing to include product packaging, a national network of warehouses, farmer financing and access to carbon-sequestering farming practices. In this interview, Baron discusses the network’s growth and opportunities for expansion in North America and around the world.

January 2 • 25m 1.7s
Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo. cover art

Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.

This week’s Open Mic guest is Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo, who has been instrumental in writing and approving two farm bills as well as countless other pieces of legislation important to agriculture and rural America. Now wrapping up her tenure in Congress, the Missouri Republican looks back on accomplishments while serving on the House Agriculture and Armed Services Committees and looks ahead to challenges the 118th Congress will face in writing new farm policy. Hartzler believes there’s a better-than-average chance a new farm bill will be approved next year but sees nutrition programs and climate policy as contentious issues.

December 26 • 25m 55.2s
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