As U.S. Senator Pat Roberts prepares for what he says will be a sprint to the finish of his final term, trade is what’s on his mind first.
“We have challenges all the time,” said Roberts Friday. “I do have the privilege of being Chairman of one committee, that’s the Ag committee. Senator Stabenow and I want to have a hearing on trade, see if we can come up with some answers. Through Section 232, the President has, that under national security, he gets into tariffs, then tariff retaliation hits ag and we lose markets and that’s a bad situation.”
He also wants to address how climate change will impact agriculture.
“The main goal there is to ensure that through the proper research, we have the new technology that we need to continue to grow the crops that we grow, if, in fact, we continue to experience climate change. We can do that. In the past, we’ve come up with hybrids, or now they call it, you know, GMOs. I think that’s the wrong name. If we don’t, millions of people are not going to be able to be fed properly. Population’s going to explode here in the next 25 years.”
That’s one of the goals he hopes the now under construction National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility will address.
“That’s what NBAF’s all about,” said Roberts. “This huge building over here to make sure that our food supply is safe. Gosh, way back when I was in charge of the emerging threats subcommittee, we went to a secret city back when they were open, in a place called Obelinsk. They had vast amounts of pathogens ready to attack a nation’s food supply. Boy, was that a jolt. Here we have NBAF to prevent that. That’s the kind of thing that we need to be thinking about.”
The facility is scheduled to be fully operational in December 2022.
Below is a bonus podcast of the full interview with Senator Roberts and Nick Gosnell recorded in Manhattan on Friday.