Open Mic Replay - An Extensive Catalog of Our Audio Interviews

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Rep. Glenn Thompson, who represents Pennsylvania's most rural district, also chairs the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy & Forestry. In this weeks' Agri-Pulse Open Mic, the GOP Congressman talks about the 2012 farm bill that's expected to move forward in the House Agriculture Committee on July 11 and how he hopes to strengthen voluntary, conservation programs in what will be his first farm bill. Thompson, who describes farmers as "the original environmentalists" also calls for a smaller, leaner and more effective Environmental Protection Agency, which he describes as currently "out of control. "

With the world's population expected to grow to nearly nine billion by 2050, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that global food production must double by that time. Our guest this week on Agri-Pulse Open Mic, Jay Vroom, talks about the important role that science-based, modern farming practices, which use fewer inputs while leading to increased productivity, can play in feeding a growing, hungry world. As President and CEO of CropLife America, he also talks about challenges the industry is facing with herbicide and weed resistance and why he has invited some of the industrys biggest critics to annual dialogues with his members. And with the presidential election less than five months away, Vroom talks about the importance of the rural vote

With 2012 designated as the International Year of Cooperatives, Chuck Conner, CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives has been busy sharing the benefits of farmer-owned cooperatives. In this weeks Open Mic, taped June 1, he also talks about the need to resolve regional differences in the 2012 farm bill writing process. Conner brings a unique perspective to this issue. For nearly 20 years, he served on the staff of Senator Richard Lugar and was the staff director of the Senate Agriculture Committee during the 1996 farm bill process. Prior to joining NCFC from 2005-2008, he was Deputy Secretary of Agriculture at USDA and helped lead development of President George W. Bush Administrations Farm Bill proposal. He also talks about Sen. Lugar's stunning defeat in the Indiana GOP primary and Gov. Romneys presidential campaign.

Six years ago, Amy Klobuchar became the first woman elected to represent the State of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate. Today, the former chief prosecutor in the states largest county joins us on Agri-Pulse Open Mic. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, she talks about the vote last week to advance the 2012 farm bill and her expectations for amendments on crop insurance and other issues. She also points to the importance of getting a farm bill passed this year in order to keep the rural economy strong and her perspective on future trade agreements.

Our guest this week on Agri-Pulse Open Mic is Arkansas Senator John Boozman, a freshman member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, who voted against passage of the 2012 Farm Bill in committee. He talks about ongoing negotiations in the U.S. Senate and his expectations for a southern farm safety net that offers more flexibility for growers of all types. The former cattle rancher also shares his concerns over food stamps, crop insurance and other aspects of the farm bill, as well as his frustrations over U.S. energy policy.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is our guest this week on Agri-Pulse Open Mic. Broadcaster Ken Root sat down with Vilsack to discuss his approach to on-farm regulatory issues and efforts to improve water quality, including the potential for ecosystem markets. He talks about the 2012 Farm Bill and differences between the House and Senate version and details the Obama Administrations views on trimming crop insurance subsidies. While the farm economy is currently booming, the former Iowa Governor describes his biggest fear for the future.

Mike Johanns is an Iowa farm boy who headed west to Nebraska to serve as governor before heading east to serve as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in the GW Bush administration before heading back to win an open U.S. Senate seat almost four years ago. He spoke about the politics of the pending farm bill and the challenges caused by geographical conflict. He also talked about the changing landscape for revered Republicans who are losing out to more conservative opponents and the surprising victory of a Nebraska Sandhills legislator who is now the Republican candidate for Nebraska's other seat in the U.S. Senate. Johanns heads up the "Aggies for Romney" campaign and was asked if he would accept the vice presidential slot with Governor Romney on the 2012 Repubican Ticket.

Bill Northey is a fourth generation farmer from Spirit Lake, Iowa who serves as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and also as President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Taking a break from planting, he explains NASDA's perspective on the 2012 Farm Bill and discusses future challenges ahead with conservation and water quality. He also talks about the impact that social media and other communication tools has had on lean finely textured beef, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, and new varieties of biotech seed corn.

Former South Dakota congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin spent a lot of time working on farm policy, renewable energy and food safety as a member of the House Agriculture Committee, and she continues to do so in her current job as a Principal at OFW Law. On Open Mic the week of 4/30/12, Herseth Sandlin assesses the current level of support on Capitol Hill for biofuels, talks about the dwindling Blue Dog coalition and the impact on bipartisan problem-solving, and discusses lessons learned from the uproar over lean finely textured beef. She hints that she's not done with politics.

The race for Iowa's 4th District congressional seat is shaping up to be one of the most competitive and expensive in the country. Democratic challenger Christie Vilsack, wife of Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, is making her first run for elected office against five-term GOP Congressman Steve King, a frequent critic of USDA. On Open Mic the week of 4/23/12, Vilsack, Iowa's former first lady and a longtime school teacher, makes it clear this campaign is about her vision for creating economic opportunity in the largely rural district - not her husband - and she talks about how she benefits from his background in public policy.

On Open Mic the week 4/16/12, Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, the second-largest U.S. farm organization, talks up NFU's Market-Driven Inventory System proposal for the 2012 Farm Bill safety net and explains why lawmakers would be wise to add a supply-management component to farm policy at a time of high commodity prices. Johnson discusses what the Obama administration has done well in terms of ag policy and where it has come up short thus far. He also comments on NFU's push to reform the beef checkoff.

Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of the food safety program at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, joined us on Open Mic the week of 4/9/12. DeWaal weighs in on the controversy over Lean Finely Textured Beef and assesses USDA's response to it. She's concerned that election-year politics and shrinking federal budgets are threatening the safety of the U.S. food supply. As a leading voice in the campaign to restrict antibiotic use in food-producing animals, DeWaal is skeptical that the Food and Drug Administration's voluntary approach will reduce antibiotic resistance in humans.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas made a return appearance to Open Mic the week of 4/2/12 to discuss the impact of the CBO March baseline projection and the House-passed Ryan Budget and its reconciliation directive on the development of new farm policy. Lucas lays out his roadmap for passing a five-year farm bill out of committee but seems less sure how it will move through the full House. He identifies some common themes that have surfaced during the panel's series of field hearings on the farm bill - themes that will likely be included in the Chairman's mark.

On Open Mic the week of 3/26/12, Kevin Concannon, the USDA Undersecretary in charge of food, nutrition and consumer services, comments on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's plan to turn the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into a state-run block grant program and addresses concerns about retailer trafficking of SNAP benefits. Concannon has some ideas about what Congress could do in a new farm bill to enhance the effectiveness of USDA nutrition programs and he talks about steps USDA is taking to get healthy foods to Americans of all ages.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad joined us on Open Mic the week of 3/19/12 to talk about the booming farm economy in Iowa and other Midwestern states and the lessons it holds for Washington. Branstad, the longest-serving governor in Iowa history, recalls the 1980s farm crisis and the impact it had on his state. While understanding the need for the federal government to get its fiscal house in order, Branstad, who chairs the Midwestern Governors Association, says the states have a limited capacity to assume additional financial and regulatory burdens. The governor offers some biofuels policy suggestions for Capitol Hill lawmakers, and he addresses critics of Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.



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