Balancing many agricultural interests in next Farm Bill

Market to Market | Podcast
Jun 20, 2023 | 36 min

Tom Sell is technically called a lobbyist. His past as a congressional staffer has positioned him to be in tune with the policy workings to help clients with wide-spread interests all throughout agriculture. We discuss his view from Texas and the workings of Washington, D.C. this cycle for Combest, Sell and Associates. 


Paul Yeager   Hey, everybody, it's Paul Yeager This is the MtoM Show podcast production of Iowa PBS and the Market to Market TV show. Thank you so much for making this a part of your listening or viewing experience. I do mean it. And I do really like it if you share this episode or any of our episodes with friends and say, Hey, I listen to this, I think you might find this interesting. New installments come out each and every Tuesday, whether it's on YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. Today's episode is with Tom Sell. He is the co-founder and manager of Cambest, Sell and Associates. He sits in Texas a lot of of the time, but his firm also is in Washington, DC they have a front row seat and are trying to make sure that they are in many of the discussions when it comes to the next farm bill. They're talking with lawmakers from around the country and discussing issues of importance to agriculture. Who are those voices? What is Tom's background? He has been on both sides of this issue, both from a staff standpoint and now from a lobby standpoint where he is working for many different groups across the country in agriculture. So we are going to talk about the 2002 Farm Bill. And just some big changes that have happened between then and now. And also a discussion of a new person in his firm that does some projects for them with a very familiar name to House Agriculture. We'll leave it at that as a tease and hope you enjoy this installment of the MToM Show podcast. So Tom, I didn't ask in Texas, I know it's a big state. So what city are you closest to right now?

Tom Sell   Yeah, so Texas is really kind of vital along the I-35 corridor. So the the big empty to the west or big empty is not fair. There's a lot of people it's a high population state, but it is the big vast agricultural area. And the Trans Pecos the big kind of wild Borderlands, it's like what you think of as the Old Cowboy Western movies. But up in in the Lubbock, Amarillo, kind of panhandle area, you have really the the vast majority of the agricultural productivity in the state of Texas. So about 75% of the agricultural goods are produced in that Yanos Kado kind of area out on the western plains a lot of good irrigated agriculture over the Ogallala Aquifer. So yeah, so unique array my hometown of Lubbock, Texas Hub City, USA home a Buddy Holly, Mack Davis, having his his Lubbock, Texas, growing near near. That's the end of the song.

Paul Yeager   So in Lubbock today, whenever Clear Lake, Iowa is mentioned they get sad or you know, do do they blame Iowa? Oh, not at all to their guy. 

Tom Sell   No, not at all. But But yeah, it is. It is a sad story of tragic loss of kind of luminary who died too early. We have a great wisdom here. So you need to come down and visit. That's right.

Paul Yeager   I've heard that that museum is fantastic. Really. And you know, Buddy Holly, I worked in the market that was Clear Lake- Mason City and so yeah, every year there's still the dance party. It always be the family members of those who died that night would come and, and perform. And now we're getting to the point of it's the grandkids of those. So what a bit you know, because you know, time escapes us all. But Tom, you. You mentioned agriculture in the state of Texas. What's your connection to where you are now to agriculture? Yeah, so background there.

Tom Sell   Yeah, absolutely. So I grew up in this kind of western part of the state, fifth generation, which is about the time this this is one of the last areas in the United States that was broken out for for highly intensive production agriculture around the early 1900s. And I grew up in Lubbock and Amarillo, father's in banking, studied Ag Economics at Texas Tech University, Go Red Raiders, and then took an internship in Washington DC, I grew up around the dinner table, we would have these great deep discussions about policy and waiting the balance between right and wrong and what sets the best kind of playing field for for everyone. So those were our dinner conversations. I always loved policy, as a kid had an opportunity to go to Washington DC with the member of Congress who was representing that 19th District of Texas guy named Larry Cambest. He later went on to be the chairman of the Ag Committee in 1999. And I was I was on his staff by that time, and got to serve with him as he led the committee through the major crop insurance rewrite of 2000. What was called the ARPA, the Ag Risk Protection Act. And then also the otoo Farm Bill, which was a very big farm bill is kind of laid the groundwork for for every farm bill sense. So we had a great kind of legislative run there under under the leadership of Chairman Cambest, who was a Republican and it was a very different time in the politics of agriculture even but that's that's how the connection Washington DC I lived there eight years on Capitol Hill, then moved my family have four kids back to back to Lubbock. Thought I'd hang a shingle and be a country lawyer but can't get sucked back into the vortex working on policy issues in Washington, DC, which I love, but I find it a lot more. It really fits my talents better, I think, than then working on contracts between two parties.

Paul Yeager   Your the name of your firm is Cambest, Sell and ssociates. So you must have had a connection with the boss.

Tom Sell   Yeah, so he had retired in oh three, I stayed in the Bush administration, and stayed in Washington DC for a while and then I moved back. But we kind of got collectively when when we were first brought back in it was by a big coalition of National Ag groups that wanted help in the oh, five budget reconciliation fight. Long, long ago, past history ended up not being that dramatic, dramatic, or all that memorable, largely because, you know, we were able to come in and kind of protect the Farm Bill, which was the goal of kind of our first contract. And it's why we set up the firm. And, you know, we're a small boutique firm that works, really focuses on the needs of rural America, and, you know, the needs of our nation, you know, we kind of took a, we, when we set up our firm, we thought, well, yeah, we love this area of policy, it's under appreciated. It really serves every American citizen and the world. If we're doing our job, right, it serves everyone so well, because the American, the very efficient American agricultural system does produce food and fiber that doesn't just meet the needs of our nation, but it's a major export. And so we create a more stable, more affordable food supply for the entire entire world. And we think that's very honorable and good work. So we were very proud to be a part of it. And, and we've So since we've, we have a number of clients, very steady group of clients who I think just appreciate what we do, and trying to be a voice for agriculture in Washington, DC.

Paul Yeager   And I want to get to that your perspective from Texas into DC in a moment, but you mentioned the firm. You've got a guy on right next to your picture on the website that many in recent times, who follow agricultural policy, very familiar with Colin Peterson, former rep from Minnesota. When I saw that he had gone to the firm I saw I, you know, went to a place with a bunch of names, didn't know what it was, and then all sudden, when we started getting connected. I see Colin Peterson there, how'd that partnership come to be?

Tom Sell   Yeah, that's great. So you know, Congress was Republican, and our firm tends to be a little bit more Republican, but in the world of agriculture, you know, policymaking? It's all very pragmatic, very solutions oriented. We've got a problem, how do we get a solution? How do we work across the aisle to build consensus on on that on that solution? And of course, you know, Congress has retired and, and I love to keep the name because I love to honor his his legacy. But he's been retired for several years, when, when Colin, you know, he, he lost his his last election, he was kind of an old dinosaur Democrat in a very Republican district. And he got reelected time after time. But But finally he was, he was knocked off to Carlos go. And he had become such a valuable, just voice of reason within the Democratic Party, he's trusted and relied upon. You know, the fact is, with Congress, like anything, there's so many issues that you can get distracted with. And there are very few districts that really represent a big agricultural constituency. And then there are even fewer members of Congress who really have an understanding or an appreciation for all the complexities that go into, you know, facilitating a food production system that's going to be reliable. Colin is one of those and he knows it in spades he's relied upon by so many members of Congress so a number of our clients on man, we got to find a way to get Colin back when I was like, absolutely should he was a friend, he is a trusted resource. And, and so we were able to to bring him back in he officially has a piercing group, which is in kind of a partnership and a friendly cooperation with Combast, Sell and Associates. So it just works perfectly and Colin has taken on some projects of his own on the side and so but I will say in the big picture backing out it's just really valuable to have him continue to be engaged in the policymaking process and in DC just because he's he's trusted for all the right reasons. You know, he is an expert in the subject matter,

Paul Yeager   And he's removed enough now he can actually have those conversations with people he used to serve with right he had to sit out years yeah,

Tom Sell   there is a cooling off period as I say because you know, people are afraid of have undue influence and that's great from an ethics standpoint, it's all good. But he's, he's served through that cooling off period. And now he can actually, you know, lobby, in other words to advocate for certain positions. But you know, the thing about Colin, he's always been super frank, whether in the media or or to his, to his fellow members of Congress, he's gonna call it the way he sees it. And that's why he's so valuable. That's why people really appreciate him in Washington, DC, they know they're gonna get a straight story from him. And that's, that's our greatest asset in Washington, DC, whether it's him or me, it's credibility. You know, it's, it's, it's being trustworthy in the things and the facts you provide, and the points of view that you provide.

Paul Yeager   So do you, I want to make sure I get your name, right. I mean, I had the name of your firm, you considered a lobbyist or advocate, how does how do you label yourself and your LinkedIn profile time?

Tom Sell   You know, given the lobbyists is about the least popular profession in all the United States far below, politicians way below lawyers, way below dog catchers, all the all the worst kinds of things that you can think of. I don't use it a lot. But but I'm not It's not nothing I want to run away from I am registered lobbyists as, as someone who spends a significant portion of their time and and is paid to advocate certain views before the Congress, you have to register under old laws. And it was last updated in 2007, with what was called the honest leadership and Open Government Act. So we register we file quarterly reports, so you can you can look me up and and our clients, for that matter. They're all grassroots organizations, which are important, like guilds and, and associations of like minded people or people with common interests, like whether it's corn growers, or, you know, kind of a regional agribusiness association or a particular company with technology that needs needs exposure. We have a great list of clients. And I'm proud to do the work, although I think I'm not very good at LinkedIn or any of those things. My staff to get me more into the 21st century. But yeah, I'm proud to be a be a lobbyist. I'll wear that scarlet L.

Paul Yeager   And the big work you're doing right now is in agriculture. Had connection with you here in a couple of weeks. Go episode on this with one of the crop insurance folks. We'll get to that in a moment. But right now, how do you see farm bill talks as we record this, it looks like heavy on the looks like we've reached a debt ceiling deal. Farm Bill next big attention maker for Washington, do you think?

Tom Sell   Yeah, it's It's remarkable. The leadership in both House and the Senate have both talked and this is this is kind of the the Schumer, McConnell, McCarthy, Hakeem Jeffries, you know, level of leadership, you know, not focused on farm bill, certainly, but they've all mentioned the farm bill as a bill that has to get done this year. And they also see it as a point of kind of compromise. They know it has a history of being a bipartisan piece of legislation. They know it expires with this crop this year. So the last Farm Bill was done in '18 ran from the '18 crop through the '23 crop. So '24 crops will start to be planted in the fall, as you know, with like winter wheat and things like that. And theoretically, you need that new farm bill in place for that new crop. So they know what needs to get done this year. And we also have a very strong leadership at the Ag Committee. So Senator Stabenow from Michigan and John Bozeman, on the Senate side, Democrat and Republican respectively, Republicans control the House where you have GT Thompson, and David Scott from Georgia, as his ranking member, all of them are unanimous we need to get this farm bill done or want to press forward to to have the potential to get done this year. And honestly, Paul, I think, with this potential debt ceiling, deal accomplished, and obviously it has to pass through the Congress, that's presumably going to happen in the house tomorrow, or Thursday, and then it'll go to the Senate before the deadline. Assuming that gets done, I really think it kind of creates a wake, a nice wake where where the Farm Bill can write in right behind it. It obviously took on one of the most controversial issues in the farm over the last two farm bills and that has been the issue of work requirements for able bodied adults without kids. So and this is this is only for males, you know, 25 to 54 requiring 20 hours a week of either volunteerism, looking for a job or working and if you do one of those things and you're able bodied, able minded, you know without kids, then you can you can continue to qualify for visiting So it was kind of a small exception that was made. And I think it's it's common sense. I think that's why it found its way through this process into the final bill. But fact is that has held up or really created some some unusual difficulties for the last two Farm Bills of 14 farm bill and the 18 Farm Bill. So now with that taken care of in this debt ceiling deal, I'm hopeful that it just creates this wake are a little pathway for the farm bill to go through, where we're really going to focus on the farm safety net, that's that's kind of where the leaders on both sides have said they want to they want to build consensus. So Chairwoman Stabenow, accomplished some amazing things in the inflation Reduction Act in the last Congress to add and infuse new monies into the concert and conservation title of the Farm Bill, title two. And now title one is kind of one area, which is the farm safety net and crop insurance. And the fact that we've been doing all this, these disaster programs kind of outside of the normal farm bill, the goal of this Farm Bill, I think, is to create a more seamless title one that provides that reliable safety net, and, and give some certainty and farmers give some certainty to the taxpayers on that front as well. So I think it really is lined up pretty well to advance the summer. Now with that, with that controversial piece already taken care of, I think you'll see the committee's putting out some kind of draft measures of where they would like to go where they would like to enhance the safety net. And then you'll get to have all the commodity groups and all the interest groups and stakeholders in a very transparent and public process, get to provide input into that process this summer, hopefully, to get to the floor of the House and Senate this fall

Paul Yeager   will tell him you know how complicated from the inside. I mean, you've worked on you mentioned your work on on previous farm bills from outside when you were there. This bill, though, isn't always about a lot of those safety nets and crop insurance. And it is such a majority of food assistance. And that's how this that's the DNA of this bill over time is how it got it passed the city in the urban came together. Do you feel like you're fighting for just such a small pie? When those debates come up, when you have such disagreements sometimes about the work requirements or the food assistance or those things and it gets kind of hard to you know, we're fighting for in dollar amounts it scraps, except it's extremely important for the people you represent and the people that watch our show.

Tom Sell   Yeah, that's a good point, Paul. Yeah, just for some perspective, you know, when when we did the Oh, to farm bill, the the baseline, the amount that we were spending on food stamps at that time, was about $40 billion a year. And it represented about 50% of the overall farm bill spinning. That that has really changed over the last 20 years. So that now one in seven Americans are on SNAP, or what we commonly call food stamps. It represents about $140 billion dollars. So it's gone from 40 to $140 billion in spending annually. And it makes up about 84% of the total farm bill spinning. So on the side of producers, you have, you know, the title one, arc PLC programs for corn and beans and wheat, that staple crops, the kind of the building block crops, cotton, rice will be in that as well. Peanuts. So you have that title one, and then you have federal crop insurance, which has really, really grown as well, although on that safety net, we are actually spending less in nominal dollars today than we were in 2002 when we did that oh to farm bill, or any of the years before. So over the past 25 years on that total safety net spending, we've we've been spending about $26 billion our current baseline going out, meaning what we project to spin if the policy were left alone over the next 10 years, would be about 16 billion. So far less way less than what we've spent historically. That's where I think the members are trying to claw back or make the argument that look, if we have a weak safety net, we're going to end up having to do ad hoc bills, again, for the next pandemic or the next trade war with China or the next, you know, kind of massive area of where Mother Nature you know wreaks havoc. If we have a strong safety net, we can control that spinning and take care of it all through the Farm Bill. But if we have a weak Farm Bill, we're going to be back to the ad hoc MC so let's try and build some of that dollars in so if we could go from, you know, $16 billion, your baseline to 20 or 21. Then we could write a stronger farm bill that will meet the needs kind of the the needs that you just can't anticipate. But you know, something is going to happen in this world market that's dominated by foreign interests. These are global commodity markets. There's so many factors that play and that's good foreign policy is supposed to be designed to to even though you can't predict it. likely what's going to happen, anticipate those needs and have a safety net in place that meets that stands by the farmers when those difficult times arise. And I think if they can get a little bit of new money still very small in comparison, you know, this whole $20 billion that we might spend on a farm safe tonight is less than, you know, two tenths of 1% of the overall federal budget, meaning if you pay 100 bucks in taxes, that'd be two dimes, right, two dimes of that 100 bucks, that goes toward agricultural policy provides a foundation of certainty for the farm families tries to keep the farm families independent, right? We don't want, we don't want kind of big oligarchies that come in and dominate the food supply. We love this kind of independent, entrepreneurial, creative family farmers that are going to get the job done. That's what we want in agricultural policy and men $20 billion a year, two tenths of 1% of the federal budget to do that, and to have the most productive, dynamic agricultural sector in the world that's leading the way for the technology that's going to feed a world of 8 billion grow into 10 billion people. That's that's a pretty good investment. I'd say.

Paul Yeager   Tom, you mentioned policy. But I guess my question is, what you're talking about sounds political. How are the two? Is the Farm Bill political? Or is it just?

Tom Sell   It is? Absolutely, you got to work the politics, right? To be able to get the policy. Right. Yeah, that's, that's the big challenge. And I will say, you know, it's, it's gotten better. I think there are more agricultural groups, there's more kind of pride in agricultural advocacy of saying, we have something really important here that we need standby. Even saw that, whether you like his politics or not, I think it will, let me just back out for a second, historically, you have this kind of center of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party that were able to agree on the very pragmatic, very practical agricultural policy, and you had the wings on either side. On the right side, that'd be the Libertarians kind of the, you know, we need to get the government out of everything, and they love to hold up, you know, foreign policy as a legacy of the Great Depression, and suddenly, we ought to be able to finally do away with. And then on the left, you have kind of the more kind of radical environmental crowd. And historically, those, those groups have kind of been the opposition from the outside. But even like, in this, we're gonna say, you know, whether you liked us politics or not, or his policy, or his personality, or not President Trump, particularly with the far right, Republicans, I think was able to make some good political gains and saying, Look, this is all about, you know, standing by American making America great again, and we need to support our industry, you know, that's actually creating new wealth, whether that's mining or manufacturing or agriculture. And so I think that has been helpful politically, from from the right side. And on the on the left side, they're just these good, pragmatic, still kind of, you know, we can craft sensible policy where the government's involvement, you know, can actually help keep an industry independent and healthy, you have still a great legacy of that on the private side. And so I really think our politics or the farm bill now are better than they have been at any time that I've been involved. Certainly, I can tell you in Oh, two, when we got the farm bill done and only passed our would, there was one kind of amendment that was designed to undercut it, it was offered by Ron kind of out of Wisconsin, it was it was really led by the Environmental Working Group, which is a kind of one of the famous critics of agricultural policy, for their own reasons. And we could go into that, but, but ew G kind of sponsored this amendment, and we only beat it by six votes. You compare that to the last farm bill and 18, it ended up passing with 84% of the Congress. And I think that goes to the fact that people understand that maybe even the further they get removed from the farm, the more they understand that they really don't get, but they know it's important. And so they're very inclined to to support it these days. And with the good leadership with the stabbing aisles and the GT Thompson's and the postman's and Scots, I think the Congress is inclined to be supportive politically, because of that good work that's done by the leaders, by the advocacy groups by the lobbyists, quite frankly, who are who are taking this very seriously the charge of of trying to be wise spokespeople for agriculture.

Paul Yeager   Well, an 84% speaks volumes to what we think Congress should do. But we think Congress is much more 51-49. Yeah, and in some ways, a 51-49. As long as it's not party lines, we think is great. But 84 is about the only way we get both parties to agree on something. So I guess in that sense, maybe the farm bill isn't as political as we think it still is. Political with the quotes. So do you find it's easier to get meetings with staff who are on the Agriculture Committee? And do you remember when you were inside the Agriculture Committee? You wanted to hear from people like you?

Tom Sell   Absolutely. Yeah. You know, there's so many issues crossing your, your, your desk, you want to hear as much perspective as you can, you know, with every issue, there's two sides of the story, right. And so you want to have a good understanding of both sides. So one of the things that even on this side now on the outside lobbying Congress, I feel it's really important for me to understand all sides of an issue and be able to articulate kind of even an opposing view. Because, and, and, and, look, the chips fall as they may, because there's a lot of, you know, wisdom is, is taking counsel from a lot of different perspectives. And I'll say, you know, for the listeners, given just all the cynicism, there is about Washington DC right now, for good reason, right, and you see it on, on TV a lot with a lot of media outlets that are just trying to tickle people's ears. Paul, I appreciate you trying to go deep on subjects and actually get to the, to a level of understanding, because that's, that's what's that's what's key. But I do want to tell the listeners, you know, I think most staff, most members of Congress still want to get to the bottom of issues and make informed decisions that serve the best interests of all, and they bring their different political perspectives. But you know, it's easy for cynics to sit on the side and just say, Oh, it's just pay to play. And these these folks are just chasing money and chasing support. From my experience is just not true. I mean, it's it's expensive to run campaigns. Money is certainly part of politics. But I can tell you, most of the senators, most members of Congress, the vast majority, are up there trying to do the right thing, bringing their their unique perspective and principles to bear on important decisions that affect everybody.

Paul Yeager   Do you think it's a good thing that we don't see in political ads? A lot of well, he voted no. on crop insurance. And yes, for Are you okay, that maybe agriculture gets out of the headlines when it comes to those attack or informational ads that go back and forth?

Tom Sell   Yeah, I think that probably is a very good thing. One, they're not going to do that on, on, on ag, because they're just so few people involved in ag This is the key to the political challenge for ag right. There are, according to USDA is definition of a person who sells more than $1,000 of, of agricultural goods in a year, there are only two, less than 2.1, between two and 2.1 million farmers in all of the United States. That's a nation of 330 million people, right. So this is well, less than 1%, about two thirds of 1% of our nation's population is could be defined as a farmer and it's also a small population that would be directly involved in the ag economy, whether it's selling to farmers or processing the goods from farmers, it's a big sector of our economy, about 5.6 of our overall 5.6% of our overall GDP. But it all starts with that very small group of farmers and even of that 2 million, only about 125,000 produced 90% of the goods. They're kind of the full time farmers that are fully vested these families that are that are invested in the land and their communities. They're the group that we feel so honored to get to represent but politically for that reason, because there are so few your prime, unless we've really messed up with the advocacy in Washington, DC, you're probably not gonna see the Farm Bill issues as being front and center on any campaign as that kind of stuff. And that's, that's a good thing.

Paul Yeager   Yeah, we'll take that time at the beginning. I asked you about where you sit? Does it give you credibility when you have to fly into DC, from Texas where you can say I was just talking in person with people in Texas or Oklahoma or Arkansas, wherever it is, you may have ended up in some, you know, some event that you had to do when you fly in then does that give you a different sense of a credibility B perspective?

Tom Sell   It does. For sure. And I actually I'm involved in agriculture myself, we have cow calf herd and do some farming. Love it. And I think all that does add to the credibility certainly com Peterson is now based out of Minnesota and interacts with people on the ground a lot but but I do want to say these grassroots organizations, that's the the ultimate kind of credibility, right? We represent a particular organization called Iowa corn growers. They're not a client of ours, Minnesota Corn is but the fact that you know, they, they are busy doing the work they need to do right, they're farming, but they have these boards and so association is to try and bring up the important issues and filter through those and do the work at at around a board table to highlight the issues that are most important to them. And then I as as as an advocate for them kind of bring their credibility to the table. So and those grassroots organizations are so vitally important that they are the practical way that we all exercise our First Amendment right of freedom of speech and freedom to petition the government. Also important for freedom press, I'm going to the First Amendment is so incredibly foundational to our our, our citizenship and are working through this, this, this democratic republic, that this experiment that we call the United States of America. It all starts with that that kind of First Amendment freedom of speech. And one of the practical ways that we that we exercise that is, you know, through lobbyists, who are on a daily basis, petitioning or bringing the needs of particular sectors before the US Congress for consideration. It's it's frustrating. It's I know all it's inefficient, you know, all these things. But it is it is the best system that's ever been invented. There's some great Churchillian quotes on on that front and many throughout history. It's it's the sausage making process. But it really is a real blessing for all of us,

Paul Yeager   which has been an enjoyment of programs like ours. That's we'd love to get into that the sausage making. I mean that that is where we think our audience has enjoyed the policy discussions. And that's why when we started this podcast six years ago, this allows us to have even deeper conversations. And who would have thought 30 minutes wasn't enough on agriculture. We needed another 30 minutes for a postman. Here we are Tom here. Okay, in the last couple of minutes, what do you see, as biggest you mentioned, Title One, what do you see as two of the most important things that need to happen in this next farm bill?

Tom Sell   Yeah, that's a great question. I think you have to address Title One where your cost of inputs for farmers have just gone up dramatically. And the reference prices for commodities were set in the 2014 Farm Bill, so almost nine years ago. And so a reference price for corn at at 370 just isn't today what it was at that time. It's far below the cost of production. And so the feeling is that those reference prices need to be updated, whether whether they're relevant to the weather, whether the producer chooses the arc or the PLC program. And there's also some desire to, to make those choices more more independent and efficient, where they can provide a more reliable safety net. And then I think you also have to address the fact that we've been doing we've now had six years where we've done ad hoc disaster for production losses. And I think, Paul, that that's going to the tighter margins, you know, AG has higher stakes with thinner margins. And so producers are wanting to buy more coverage, but it's prohibitively expensive. So maybe through crop insurance, you can close some of the deductibles, ie make higher levels of insurance more affordable for more growers. I think if you can address one of those market risks, and the end the production risks, with some enhancements to the safety net, that's that's going to be a really important goal of farm bill. And then one of the things I want to mention is just we've got to continue to invest in the research complex or around US agriculture, our land grant institutions, like the state are so vitally important. But we've fallen behind in terms of the amounts that we're putting into the research complex for US agriculture. And it is another area that I think will be a big topic of discussion for good reason. So those are a couple of things.

Paul Yeager   Yeah, a couple of weeks ago, we were at an event, Senator Bozeman was in Iowa in as with senators Ernst and Grassley and the president of Iowa State when Wendy Wintersteen got up and said almost that exact same thing that you cannot forget about research. And I know that research becomes political in some places, when other maybe state run universities that get fed, that good public dollars, might be doing something that's not necessarily friendly, viewed as friendly from the land grant institutions that I had happens in Iowa. And I know what happens in other states. So that research is always if we're not researching, we're not finding the next thing. That's right. Right,

Tom Sell   Mark, the world population is growing. And and the fundamental purpose of foreign policy is even to set up a system where you can meet the needs of society. The problems associated with over abundance or oversupply are always much better than any problems associated with under supplied and we've been blessed in this nation to have an incredibly dynamic agricultural sector, these family farms The goal of foreign policy should be to just keep that going, you know, building for the future.

Paul Yeager   Sounds good. Tom Sell, thank you so very much. Appreciate your time.

Tom Sell   Really enjoyed it, Paul.

Paul Yeager   My thanks to Tom Sell. Oh, always good to talk Texas, and foreign policy. Kind of fun, isn't it? We do this each Tuesday, New episodes come out. Like, subscribe, share, follow, or just tell a friend. We appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you for making us a part of your internet experience.