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tv   Washington Journal Barbara Glenn  CSPAN  December 4, 2018 2:20pm-2:31pm EST

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he's lying in state until wednesday. so everything has been pushed back to early next week. but i think it will be a fast-moving process because i'm pretty sure they will have the votes it needs, both chambers. >> catherine boudreau who reports on agriculture joining us for a discussion about the farm bill. thanks for your time. >> this is barbara glenn, the ceo of the national association of state departments of agriculture joining us to talk about agriculture policy and the farm bill. good morning. >> good morning, pedro. >> tell us a little bit about your organization, specifically what it does and your role in it. >> i would be happy to do so. i'm the ceo of the national association of state departments of agriculture. our mission is really to create consensus around sound agricultural policy. we do that between the state departments of ag, the federal government, and stakeholders. so pedro, our nmembers are the commissioners, secretaries, and directors of agriculture in all 50 states and four tear tors. in that role, they're the chief
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ag negotiator, a co-regulator with the federal government, also an agrucultural ambassador. >> you deal with policy decisions. does this farm bill being debated in congress in your mind a sound policy decision? >> we need a farm bill. yeah, this is good to have. we have to get this passed next week. here's the story about agriculture. agriculture in our affiliated industries, we provide economic viability. $1 trillion to the u.s. gdp, 21 million jobs. and agriculture is very important to the u.s. economy. all of us eat. we all enjoy the sustainability and the affordability of foods that are our choice. so we need a farm bill. this is right now, ag is struggling, and farm income is down. the usda recently said this week farm income may be down 12% this
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year. so the bottom line is we need that farm bill. we're looking forward to its passage, and indeed, our members are keen on getting this passed. >> is that drop in income because of trade policy? >> some of it is, yes, but it's a conglomeration of different effects that have occurred coming into this year. the trade stability hasn't been helpful. >> talk about the impact specifically on farmers and is it because of tariffs put in place by the trump administration? >> yeah, the farmer community, the number one industry sector that's been impacted by trade. nafta supports a stable trade policy. we support, and our top legislationive priority is to pass the usmca, a win for agriculture. the administration is to be given compliments to getting us to this point, but we have to get it over the line. that's just one. we need a new free trade
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agreement. ag trade is a huge aspect of the revenue and viability for the american farmer. >> our conversation on the farm bill and agricultural policy continues. if you live in the eastern and central time zone, 202-748-8000. mountain and pacific zones, 202-748-80. 1. if you work in the agriculture industry, 202-748-8002. you can post thoughts and comments on twitter, @cspan wj. one of the portions they talked about is that of subsidies for farms. can you make the case why farmers need that kind of thing from the federal government. i'm sure you have heard they don't. >> yes, i have. we have heard the dialogue. more than ever, commissioners, secretaries, and directors know to have a viable agriculture in their state, farmers need title i, they need crop insurance. these are provisions that enhance farms' sustainability and economic viability. it's a huge title in the farm
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bill. we actually don't advocate and work on it specifically because as commissioners and that's not the area that we feel that we can impact directly, but it provides certainty. and we need that certainty in these times of low revenue and hard times for the economic downturn. >> all farmers across the board need that type of assurance? >> in general, it's important to say that there needs to be equitable provision across the farming industry to support those that grow our foods. so yes, it's something that we watch. we're hopeful that the status of it in the current bill will pass. >> is there a concern it won't? >> no, no. not in our minds. next week, as your former guest said, we hope to see the congress report approved. we know there's a will, and the political will, and certainly the enthusiasm to support
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agriculture by the administration, so we expect the farm bill to pass. >> aside from that aspect of the farm bill when it comes to a commissioner's perspective, what's the most important feature you're looking at? >> we're looking at several priorities. one of the ones we see in the forward leaning and new and modernized farm bill is the area of animal health and disease preparedness. we have been working on that, on both sides of the aisle in the house and senate. we're very pleased that the committees are looking for a mandatory baseline funding for that program. that's the funding that supports animal health. our state departments of ag are the number one first stop when there's an animal health outbreak or a disease situation. and we work very closely with the u.s. department of ag. so this whole package, which is in the current version right now, will help states react to these animal health issues. >> give me a for instance. >> well, we have an influenza
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outbreak in the united states in the past 18 months, two years. it was devastating. the losses to our poultry farmers was huge. to our turkey farmers. our commissioners, secretaries, and directors were working very closely with industry, with stakeholders, with congress, and with usda to try to stamp that out. but that type of economic impact, it's huge. not just on the loss of the birds and to the farmer directly, but it ripples to the entire food chain. >> if it passes under the bill, exactly how would animal health change? just because of the money involved, because of the process involved? can you give examples? >> exactly, the package includes improved ability to respond when we identify a disease outbreak. it improves our ability to identify, improves our ability to mitigate these from coming, and it has a provision for that vaccine bank, which is needed
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for protection of the animal, agriculture in the united states. it's a three-pronged approach. and it holistically includes a state block program which helps the states react, and we're very much looking forward to having that in the final bill. we expect it to be there. >> we have calls lined up. the first one is in maryland. nicolas joins us. you're on with our guest. go ahead. nicolas in maryland, hello. we'll try rene. rene is in california, in san jose. hello, good morning. >> caller: hi, thank you. thank you for taking my call. regarding -- i'm going to mention this. for one purpose, it's global and it makes a lot of money. i just kind of want to know how that pharmaceutical, because santos produces a termination feed that farmers have to buy if they're in drought areas so there's like a water supply issue.
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is there anything being done about the overhead on the pharmaceutical trap that the farmers are put into, and how is that have anything to do with the bill? >> well, rene, thanks for your call. you have a very broad question there. it has -- there are a lot of avenues, but i can tell you this, that agriculture relies on the innovation and discovery of new technologies. in that regard, we have advanced precision agriculture, for example. we have auto steer tractors. we have drones we're using to assess our fields and to understand our livestock herds. so there's a lot of technology that's addressed, including the entire phase of agricultural biotechnology, which we have enjoyed the benefits of since the mid 1990s. literally all crops, commodity crops grown in the united states today are traded seeds that are the result of the benefits from modern agricultural biotechnology. taken as a whole, the
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relationship between industry and the tech providers of those tools and the farmers has been very positive. it's the reason that u.s. agricultural is so successful and the reason we have been able to increase our exports and the reason we have a safe and affordable food supply. in addition to that, it's the reason everybody else wants our food and our products. so thanks for that question, rene. >> johnny, virginia, hi. >> caller: hello. >> you're on, go ahead. >> caller: hello. i would like to ask a question, please. i'm 85 years old. i have been retired for ever since i was 65. and i have tried to get help from social security in woodbridge, virginia, and there's no go. i only get $16 in food stamps, and that don't even last half a day. so i don't understand how some
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people can, with two or three children can get $800, $900. that's actual because i used to work for the county. i retired from the county. i wonder. i get $949 a month social security, $300 a month from retirement from the county. and i don't understand. i can't get any help. i'm about to get thrown out of the house because i can't stop a lot of leaks, water leaks and roofs and all that stuff. they're going to kick us out. i just don't understand how some people can just be so lucky, whatever, and me, i don't understand. >> that's johnny in woodbridge. >> thanks for your call. and god bless you. thank you for sharing your story. i hear you. nafta has supported a unified farm bill since day one. that


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