U.S. Capitol

‘2017 or 2018 farm bill?’ to be topic of U of A webinar

Farm Bureau's chief lobbyist to discuss issues involved in writing the new farm policy blueprint for U.S. agriculture.

Mary Kay Thatcher, chief lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation and a veteran of seven farm bills, will be the featured speaker for the next University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Webinar.

The webinar, “Will it be a 2017 or 2018 farm bill?” will air at 10 a.m. CDT on Thursday, Sept. 7. You can connect with your computer, IPad or Smartphone by Internet or dial-in and listen in by phone.

Ms. Thatcher will review the status of ongoing discussions about the upcoming farm bill and provide some “inside the Beltway” insight into what is likely to be debated and the interaction of the Trump administration and budget negotiations.

Your host for the webinar will be Bobby Coats, professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

The registration link for the Sept. 7th webinar: http://bit.ly/farm-bill-18.

Mary Kay Thatcher has worked as a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation for 30 years. She currently serves as senior director of congressional relations where she lobbies primarily on issues covering farm programs, crop insurance, conservation and credit.

In the past few years, she has also spearheaded AFBF’s participation on the topic of farm data, security and privacy. She serves as President of the Ag Data Transparency Evaluator, a tool developed by Ag Tech Providers and farm/commodity groups to help farmers understand the contracts they sign to share their farm data. 

She also serves as Secretary of the Ag Data Coalition, a group of 14 members consisting of farm groups, land grant universities, ag equipment manufacturers and technology companies and providers. The coalition is working to develop an ag data cooperative to confidentially maintain a farmer’s data and to facilitate collaboration in the new era of data-driven agriculture.

She served in the “first” Bush Administration as a political appointee as the director of congressional and public affairs of the Farm Credit Administration. In that capacity, she was responsible for the policy direction and management of the agency’s congressional and public affairs activities.

Prior to joining AFBF in 1982, Thatcher served as a legislative assistant for agriculture and trade to Sen. Roger Jepsen of Iowa. She is a graduate of Iowa State University where she earned degrees in animal science and agricultural economics.

Thatcher is a fifth-generation Iowa farmer. She grew up on a 500-acre Iowa beef, hay and corn farm. She now manages a farm in Iowa producing corn and soybeans, as well as a cow/calf operation.

For more information about the webinar, contact Dr. Coats at [email protected] or Mary Poling, producer for the webinar and coordinator for interactive communications, University of Arkansas System Division of Ag, Cooperative Extension Service, at [email protected]

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