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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.