Open Mic Replay - An Extensive Catalog of Our Audio Interviews

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Michael Scuse
Without a new farm bill to authorize funding for USDA export programs, U.S. farmers and ranchers will start to lose a competitive edge to their foreign competitors. That's just one of the farm bill topics that USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse addresses in this week's Open Mic. He also talks about further cost-cutting at USDA, farm program efficiencies and expanding trade with Russia, a country the former Delaware Secretary of Agriculture will tour in early December, along with other state agricultural leaders.

Tom Latham
Congressman Tom Latham was re-elected after a tough campaign against Democrat Leonard Boswell in a newly shaped Iowa congressional district. We asked Latham, who has deep roots in agriculture, about commitments from his friend and colleague, Speaker John Boehner, regarding action on the 2012 farm bill and how the funding baseline might change if nothing happens. He also discusses tax issues as part of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations taking place between President Barack Obama and House and Senate leaders.

Jack Roney
With holiday baking in full swing, millions of Americans will likely be purchasing or consuming a little extra sugar this season. Jack Roney, Director of Economics and Policy Analysis for the American Sugar Alliance, explains why sugar prices have been dropping and how the "no cost" U.S. sugar policy removes some of the price volatility that historically plagued growers before its enactment. Roney talks about the sugar industry's use of Political Action Committee donations to influence Congress and describes how growers are willing to level the farm policy playing field around the globe. But citing the European Union as an example, he says it would be suicidal to eliminate all tariffs or buffers unless every other sugar-producing nation did so at the same time.

Dr. Joe Aistrup
Most national polls indicate that the race for president is incredibly close with fewer than a dozen swing states still in play. We asked Dr. Joe Aistrup to discuss the importance of the rural vote on this week's Agri-Pulse Open Mic. Aistrup, who is a Political Science Professor at Kansas State University and interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, specializes in examining political races. He is also the author of two books. "Kansas Politics and Government: The Clash of Political Cultures" and "The Southern Strategy Revisited: Top-Down Republican Party Development in the South" Aistrup dissected the politics of agriculture and rural America for both the presidential campaigns and key congressional races. He also speculates on whether or not this election will end the current gridlock in Congress.

Jeff Simmons
Jeff Simmons is President of Elanco, the animal health division of Eli Lilly and Company, and a passionate advocate for the role technology plays in sustainable, efficient production of safe, affordable meat, dairy and eggs. In his 23 years with company, he traveled to some of the harshest regions of the globe and gained experiences that have shaped his perspective on food and agriculture. In this week's Open Mic, he verbalizes his deep conviction for finding global solutions to world hunger, using an egg to illustrate part of the challenges ahead. Simmons, who grew up on a family farm in New York, also questions animal rights activists from the perspective of human welfare and animal welfare.

Tom Sleight
Tom Sleight has devoted most of his professional career to the U.S. Grains Council. Two years ago, he came back to the council and was named President and CEO in June. Sleight has served in the United States and abroad, even in the Soviet Union, as a promoter of U.S. grain exports. The council now works with the Foreign Agricultural Service and export oriented organizations to create markets for corn, barley and sorghum. Sleight talks about the potential of China to produce more grain but to also continue to import larger quantities each year. He is concerned about the river transportation system in the Upper Midwest and the opportunities of the Panama Canal having larger capacity.

Chris Schaffer
Moving commodities like corn, soybeans and DDGs from key growing regions of the Midwest to major Asian customers is a very big task, but our guest on this week's Open Mic tells how its done and describes some of the associated challenges. Chris Schaffer, who serves as Ag Processing Inc.'s senior director of exports, talks about his cooperative's efforts to be the fastest, most efficient exporter in the Pacific Northwest, moving product through its new port terminal elevator at the Port of Grays Harbor (PGH), Schaffer, who first joined AGP in 1994, spent a brief stint at the U.S. Grain Council (USGC) as the manager of operations for Asian markets from 1999 to 2001. During this time, Schaffer established relationships with Asian customers and focused on educating off-shore customers about GMOs and biotechnology. In 2001, he brought his knowledge of export markets back to AGP where he continues to focus on expanding market opportunities for their farmer members.

Dan Glickman
This week's Open Mic guest is Dan Glickman, former Kansas Congressman and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for six years of the Clinton Administration. Glickman praised the bi-partisan efforts of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees but is distraught at the opposition to the bill by conservative House Republicans. He also comments about food and nutrition as well as shrinking the federal budget and cutting the size of the USDA.

Jeff Simmons
Jeff Simmons is President of Elanco, the animal health division of Eli Lilly and Company, and a passionate advocate for the role technology plays in sustainable, efficient production of safe, affordable meat, dairy and eggs. In his 23 years with company, he traveled to some of the harshest regions of the globe and gained experiences that have shaped his perspective on food and agriculture. In this week's Open Mic, he verbalizes his deep conviction for finding global solutions to world hunger, using an egg to illustrate part of the challenges ahead. Simmons, who grew up on a family farm in New York, also questions animal rights activists from the perspective of human welfare and animal welfare.

Rick Berg
North Dakota Congressman Rick Berg joins us on this week's Open Mic to discuss his frustration over the stalled 2012 farm bill and his eleventh hour efforts to try to whip votes before the House or Representatives headed home to campaign. Failure to pass the bill has become a political hot button for the North Dakota Republican, who serves on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, and is now running for Senate in a hotly contested race against Heidi Heitkamp. He also talks about his early years working on farms and the importance of letting 4-H and FFA kids continue to do farm labor. In a state that has record low unemployment and healthy state coffers, the Agriculural Economics graduate from NDSU also talks about his concerns that overregulation could stifle small businesses and future economic growth.

Paul Schickler
This week's Open Mic guest is Paul Schickler, President of DuPont Pioneer, a role he's held since 2007. He talks about the ongoing challenges with getting new seed products registered around the globe, the benefits of competition in the seed industry, as well as the firms ongoing legal battles with Monsanto. The Iowa-based company is breeding more stress tolerance into crops and reports on how those plants performed during a year of record drought. Schickler also talks about future technology that will improve consumer products and profitability for corn and soybean farmers.

Jim Sutter
With USDA projecting another record year for farm exports, we interviewed Jim Sutter, the Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, for Agri-Pulse Open Mic. Sutter comes from a strong background in soybean merchandising and is eager to sell more U.S. soybeans into the world market even as buyers are concerned about tight supplies and high prices. He explains the relationship between the Export Council, the United Soybean Board, the American Soybean Association and the USDA Foreign Ag Service. Sutter believes there is great opportunity to expand U.S. soybean exports and export two-thirds of the crop by 2020, but some countries continue to have trade barriers against our products, and there are increasing concerns about sustainability standards in the EU.

Clayton Yeutter
Dr. Clayton Yeutter has long-served as a public servant in the federal government and held several different leadership positions within the private sector, where he is currently a Senior Advisor at Hogan Lovells LLP in Washington D.C. In 1978, he became president of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In July 1985 President Reagan appointed Yeutter as U.S. Trade Representative. On February 16, 1989, Yeutter was sworn in as the Secretary of Agriculture, where he helped develop the 1990 farm bill. In this weeks Open Mic, the Nebraska native talks about key issues facing farmers and ranchers today and how he believes the Romney administration would offer solutions on issues like trade, taxes and regulatory relief.

Ann Mills
With incredible heat and drought conditions across much of the U.S., some have compared this time period to previous record-breaking droughts dating back to the 1930's Dust Bowl years. Yet with new technologies and conservation techniques, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Ann Mills explains how farmers and ranchers are preserving precious resources despite the weather-related challenges and how new conservation innovation grants might lead to even better practices. Mills, who previously directed the Senate office of Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle and worked on bio-fuels issues for then-Congressman Richard Durbin, talks about how a new farm bill might shape future conservation programs and how environmental markets could emerge as a new revenue stream for producers.

Rick Tolman
Rick Tolman, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Corn Growers for the last 12 years, is our guest on Agri-Pulse Open Mic. As a member of the "Farm Bill Now" coalition, Tolman talks about his group's disapointment that members of Congress can't get the job done. He also talks about how ethanol has allowed agriculture to be a bright light in the national economy and explains how, from a technical standpoint, NCGA needs to be supportive of those who want to petition the EPA for a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard. We also asked him to grade the Obama Administration's approach to agriculture.



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