Open Mic Replay - An Extensive Catalog of Our Audio Interviews

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Congressman Mike Conaway
Congressman Mike Conaway is a Republican from a rural and agricultural district of west central Texas. He is the subcommittee chair for general farm commodities and risk management of the agriculture committee. Conaway sits just below the four principal negotiators on the conference committee for the farm, food and jobs bill that is currently being negotiated. He stated last week that he disagreed with Chairman Frank Lucas that the bill would come out of conference before Thanksgiving. "I would like for the Chairman to be right and for me to be wrong," he said on further questioning, "but I feel there are just too many areas that are unresolved to allow that." Conaway turned out to be right as many areas of the bill are still unsettled.

Dr. Mary Dell-Chilton
In the 1960's, Dr. Mary Del Chilton, a biologist, had an interest in a bacterium that would snip the genes of a tobacco plant and allow scientific manipulation or gene splicing. She was not sure it was anything that had commercial viability until CIBA-GEIGY (now Syngenta) came to see her at Washington University in St. Louis, where she was teaching. They convinced her to bring her skills to the fledgling biotechnology industry and switch from tobacco to corn. The rest is history as she was awarded the World Food Prize this year along with two other scientists who laid the groundwork for advancement in crop biotechnology. Agri-Pulse spoke with her during a news conference at the World Food Prize event as she was countering anti-biotechnology claims and discussing the unrecognized potential in this new era of genetic modification

Sen. Amy Klobuchar
As House and Senate leaders head into a farm bill conference meeting this week, Sen. Amy Klobuchar provides keen insight on the negotiations. She says the challenge is to merge the reductions in spending, contained in the House of Representatives Farm Bill, with the more moderate reductions in the Senate bill and to mediate those provisions in the final bill. She discusses the prospect of rolling the entire farm bill into a larger budget bill and how large a reduction there can be in nutrition spending without risking a presidential veto. Finally, she discusses a provision of the WRDA bill that would permanently close the Upper St. Anthony Lock on the Mississippi River to block Asian Carp from penetrating northern Minnesota rivers and lakes.

Ray Offenheiser
Ray Offenheiser is President of Oxfam America, a Non-Governmental Organization that focuses on food aid to developing countries. Oxfam is a member of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network and favors major reform in the food aid system, moving away from shipping grain in more costly American flag vessels to buying food near the area of famine to support the region, citing proposals offered by both Presidents Bush and Obama. Offenheiser also discusses the science, yet the wariness - within some countries - to receive genetically modified grains.

Jo Ann Emerson
Jo Ann Emerson recently became the CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperatives after a distinguished seventeen year career as a U.S. Representative from Missouri. She is only the fifth leader of the NRECA since it's inception. Major concerns of Rural Electric Coop's, and their members, include the need for Congressional assistance to serve low population areas and increased regulation and other mandates placed on both generating and distribution cooperatives. Still, Jo Ann Emerson believes that REC's are leading the way in increasing the mix of renewable and clean energy to make electricity. She also addressed storm damage and how a major principle of cooperatives is to help each other, even if the payment is just an IOU.

Ambassador Kenneth Quinn
Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, President of the World Food Prize, joins us for a wide-ranging interview on Open Mic. This week, the WFP event will be held in Des Moines, Iowa with many internationally acclaimed speakers including Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Roman Catholic Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana. The WFP honors three scientists in 2013 who dedicated their careers to commercializing biotechnology in crops and addressing world hunger issues: Marc Van Montagu of Belgium,
Mary-Dell Chilton and Robert T. Fraley of the United States. The WFP encourages scientists and NGOs to talk about how to address crop production and distribution problems and plan for feeding nine billion people in the future, but activists are expected to protest the recognition of science-based solutions for modern agriculture. In this interview, Quinn addresses the issues head on and provides important context for the event, which was founded by Dr. Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Laureate in 1970 for his work in improved plant breeding.

Mike Moore
Right Honorable Ambassador Mike Moore serves the New Zealand government from the embassy in Washington, D.C. He is a former Director General of the World Trade Organization, In that capacity, he initiated the Doha Round of the WTO and saw the assention of China into the trade body. He expresses regret at the inaction of the WTO but has hope it remains a means to negotiate disputes. Amb. Moore is astute and colorful in his observations of world trade and describes the ups and downs of New Zealand's agriculture. He also speculates on the prospects for the Trans Pacific Partnership talks and further trade agreements with Europe. Moore salutes and credits the U.S. government and farmers for bringing food to the world.

James C. Collins, Jr
Recognized as one of the most influential people in bioenergy, James C. Collins, Jr. is senior vice president for DuPont, in charge of Industrial Biosciences, Performance Polymers and Packaging & Industrial Polymers businesses. He is leading the effort to bring advanced biofuels to market, especially through a new generation cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. Collins will testify this week before the Senate Agriculture Committee on the Renewable Fuel Standard and its applicability to advanced biofuel development. He also comments on DuPont-Pioneer efforts to assist corn growers to get the maximum utilization of biomass by a sustainable rotational system of removing a portion of the stover for use in making cellulosic ethanol.

John Dardis
With international trade negotiations offering the potential for stronger ag exports, it's important to understand some of the key differences between the U.S. and other trading partners. In this week's Open Mic, John Dardis tells how the Irish view some of the trade barriers on both sides of the Atlantic. Dardis is a fifth generation farmer, who trained as a plant breeder, and currently serves as the Agricultural Attache for the Irish Embassy in Washington, D.C. Dardis sees Ireland's agricultural future in the amount of beef, dairy, whiskey and other high value exports the island nation can ship around the world while creating much needed jobs. He also offers perspective on biotechnology acceptance and how Ireland is trying to build their next generation of young farmers.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
The Chair of the Senate Agriculture, Committee, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), is ready to bring the 2013 farm bill to closure. She expressed frustration with delays in the House of Representatives and stands strongly on the side of providing food assistance to those in need. Stabenow explains the politics of the bill and how the President is monitoring the legislation. Action by the House to appoint conferees is a priority as she rejects the way Republicans are attempting to pass a nutrition bill that would reduce SNAP by $40 billion over ten years.

Dr. Ed Knipling
Agricultural Research Service Administrator Edward B. Knipling guided nearly 2,000 scientists with a focus on the Agricultural Research Service as the working arm of USDA science and an organization of national responsibility. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said it best: "Dr. Knipling retires with 46 years of service to the American people through the advancement of science.'' In a prestigious career devoted to the ARS, Knipling held positions throughout the agency, serving as ARS Administrator since 2004. In this week's Open Mic, Knipling shares many of the challenges facing the agency as it remains focused on science-based solutions to some of agriculture's biggest challenges.

Mark Jackson
Mark Jackson is President of the Iowa Soybean Association and like many farmers, is uncertain about the size of this year's soybean crop. He's also frustrated by the lack of action on a farm bill and the implications of not having legislation in place to provide food security for the United States. In this week's Open Mic, he also shares how his association has been very active in reaching out to consumers so they can know more about the source of their food and better understand how farmers have been implementing more sustainable farming practices.

Senator Mitch McConnell
Sen. Mitch McConnell has been the Minority Leader of the Senate since January 3, 2007 and is the longest serving U.S. Senator in Kentucky history, but he's facing tough re-election battles heading into 2014. On this week's Open Mic, he talks about the challenges associated with passing a new farm bill and why going back to the 1949 permanent law would be "insane." In this wide-ranging interview, he also addresses a host of other ag-related issues such as immigration reform, estate taxes, the sequester, Obamacare and the "war on coal."

Brett Stuart
Brett Stuart is President of Global AgriTrends. He was formerly with the U.S. Meat Export Federation before becoming an independent consultant in the meat trade. Stuart's view is that China and Russia do not want "cheap" imports of meat and grain because it reduces their ability to be self sufficient in food production. He examines the politics and the economics of China and Russia and the role the United States plays as a producer and exporter of high quality, low cost meat and meat products.

Bill Wykes
Bill Wykes is a soybean farmer and the past chair of the Illinois Soybean Association. He is a strong advocate of biotechnology and utilization of science and innovation in agriculture. Wykes is concerned about regulatory and trade issues facing biotechnology and has encouraged the ISA to host a symposium on the dynamics of international biotechnology.



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