Our final full day in DC started out with a burst- of rain that is.
Despite the damp weather, the coffee and dough nuts were hot at a
constituent breakfast with Senators Durbin and Kirk. They discussed
housing foreclosure rates, the federal budget situation, business
regulation and locks and dams along the Mississippi River. Breakfast was
followed by a capitol and Senate gallery tour conducted by the staff of
Congressman Aaron Schock.
Next, we traveled to the USDA for lunch in the Secretary’s Dining Room.
Hubert Hamer, Chair of the Agriculture Statistic Board, spoke during lunch
about the agriculture statistic collection program. We also met with
Michael Scuse, Acting Under Security for Farm and Foreign Agricultural
Services; Dr. Skip Hyberg, Agricultural Economist for FSA; and Christine
Turner with the Foreign Agricultural Service. Mr. Scuse spoke briefly
about a projected agricultural trade surplus of 47.4 billion dollars next
year. Dr. Hyberg spoke about the Conservation Reserve Program, which has
34.6 million acres enrolled, including two million acres a piece
in wetlands and buffers. Christine Turner, a Senior Advisor with the
Foreign Agricultural Service talked about USDA’s 150 foreign trade offices
around the world in 90 countries and those representatives serve as
agriculture’s lobbyists and spokespeople on the issue of trade.
IALP graduate (’06) and Deputy Administrator for Insurance Services
Michael Alston spoke to the group about RMA and crop insurance issues.
Mr. Alston also discussed the importance of leaders in agriculture working
in the nation’s capital.
Our afternoon at the USDA ended with a presentation by Dr. Sarahelen
(“Sally”) Thompson, Director of Market and Trade Economics Division. Dr.
Thompson spoke about a projected export high of 135 billion dollars, due
in part to worldwide economic growth and Chinese demand for US ag
Our final visit was with Congressman John Shimkas (R- 19, IL) who spokecandidly about the political atmosphere in DC and the county’s budget
We want to thank not only Monsanto for sponsoring out National Travel
Seminar but also all of our speakers!