GMO Labeling Bill Seen as “Step to Restoring Sanity”

cfsafFarm and commodity groups are throwing their support behind a new bill that is hoped to end some of the craziness over food labeling in this country. The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food, which includes the likes of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), the American Soybean Association (ASA), and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), as well as more than 30 other groups, praised the bipartisan bill from Reps. Mike Pompeo and G.K. Butterfield, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which is designed to establish a federal labeling standard for food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

“The introduction of the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act was an important first step to restoring sanity to America’s food labeling laws,” said Martin Barbre, President, NCGA. “GMOs are perfectly safe and America’s farmers rely on this proven technology to protect our crops from insects, weeds and drought.”

Supporters believe the bill would help eliminate confusion among consumers and give those consumers better confidence in what they buy.

“This bill is a commonsense, science-based approach to an issue we realize is close to the hearts and minds of so many consumers,” said Iowa farmer and ASA President Ray Gaesser. “Americans want to know that their food is safe, and the solutions proposed in this bill will ensure that they have that information.”

Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says the measure makes clear that the Food and Drug Administration will be the Nation’s foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods containing GMOs and would eliminate a patchwork of state regulations across the country.

“The diversity of innovative options farmers and ranchers have in regard to how they grow our food is one of the reasons U.S. consumers enjoy a wide variety of foods that are also among the most affordable in the world.”

Other highlights of the bill include ensuring the FDA conducts safety reviews and providing better information and consistency for consumers.

McQueen Presented Charles Eastin Award

ag-day-14-eastin-awardThe Agriculture Council of America presented the Charles Eastin Award to Lindsay McQueen, Union/Jackson County, IL Farm Bureaus during this year’s Ag Day festivities. The Eastin Award honors an individual who stands out as an advocate for accurate communications between rural and urban audiences.

Lindsay has been promoting agriculture and actively involved with agriculture industry her entire life. She has worked for the Farm Bureau for seven years and has been the Union and Jackson County, IL Farm Bureau Manager for four years. She was actively involved in 4-H and FFA all throughout her childhood and high school career and still volunteers with both groups.

When she addressed the crowd after accepting the award she quoted the first two words in the well-known FFA Creed. I BELIEVE – is an action she tries to live by each day. “Believe in a higher power, believe in your family, in yourself and your abilities.”

Listen to Lindsay’s remarks after being presented the award: Remarks from Lindsay McQueen, Eastin Award Winner

Merry Christmas from Tulare County Farm Bureau

Screen Shot 2013-12-24 at 8.18.53 AMA Merry Christmas from our friends at Tulare County Farm Bureau.

Tulare County Farm Bureau wishes our members, friends and supporters a very Merry Christmas and a bountiful harvest and prosperous new year in 2014!

In honor of the Christmas season, the Tulare County Farm Bureau will observe the following schedule during the next two weeks.

December 23, open 8 am to 5 pm
December 24, open 8 am to 12 pm
December 25 thru January 1, closed for the holidays
January 2, 2014 re-opens 8 am to 5 pm

Many valuable resources and information can be found online at if you have questions during our closure.

Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings!

AFBF Annual Convention Around the Corner

afbf-maceThe 2014 American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Annual Convention is right around the corner in San Antonio, TX. January 12-15 marks the organizations 95th convention and the event is expected to attract 6,000 farmers and ranchers from across the country.

Cindy caught up with AFBF’s Mace Thornton, Director of Communications, during the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s Convention where he shared more about the event and how the organization shares their message with grassroots members nationwide.

“This is the culmination of our annual grassroots policy development process. We take a lot of pride at Farm Bureau with the positions we have that all start at the county level with individual farmers. Those policy positions make their way up to the state level and then those with national implications make it to our meeting. It really is amazing that farmers with all types of farms, all areas of the country can come together and agree on policy positions.”

Austin, TX based western swing band, Asleep at the Wheel, will perform during the event. Attendees will also have the opportunity to see Josh Turner and James Wesley in concert as well. For more information on the convention visit AFBF website.

Mace also shared how Farm Bureau is staying on the cutting edge of communications. This includes providing members with information that they can take and build their own personal stories with to help educate and share with others.

Listen to Cindy’s complete interview with Mace here: Interview with Mace Thornton, ABFB Communications Director

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

ILFB Farm Bureau President says Bring the Heat

Image 2The locks and dams system along the Mississippi river corridor is aging. Illinois Farm Bureau President, Phillip Nelson says the time is now and through a coalition of the Illinois Corn Growers, Archer Daniels Midland and the St. Louis Carpenter’s Union they are working to educate members of Congress about the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

I got a chance to sit down with President Nelson right after the press conference and we discussed that some of the locks are nearly 70 years old and the system could shut down more than just grain moving through the mighty Mississippi.

“We are part of the campaign to bring the heat to Congress. This is one very important issue for us as we try to make Congress aware of our aging lock structure and how we need to act on this bill.”

Listen to my interview with Phil here: Interview with Phillip Nelson

2013 Farm Progress Show Photo Album

Coverage of the 2013 Farm Progress show is sponsored by Bayer CropScience, Growmark and New Holland


Tablet App for ‘My American Farm’ Available

MyAmFarmThe American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has released a tablet app modeled after the popular agricultural game site, “My American Farm.” The app is now available for free download on iTunes and Google Play.

The app features five games from My American Farm—In My Barn; My Little Ag Me; Equipment Engineer; Farmer’s Market Challenge; and Ag Across America.

App users are rewarded with a virtual sticker after successfully completing each game. Stickers can be dragged and dropped onto a virtual passport, allowing users to track their progress.

New resources have also been developed to provide guidance for using the app in a traditional or non-traditional setting. A formal lesson plan for classroom instruction, as well as tips and tricks for suggested integration in a variety of settings will be available at

Farm Bureau: Fourth of July Still a Bargain

AFBF4thofJuly1While prices at the grocery store might have gone up a bit, our friends at the American Farm Bureau Federation say a Fourth of July picnic is still a bargain. The group’s latest marketbasket survey shows a party for 10 people with all the Independence Day favorites, such as hot dogs, cheeseburgers, pork spare ribs, potato salad, baked beans, lemonade and chocolate milk still comes to less than $6 per person at just $5.72:

“Although retail food prices have increased modestly over the past year or so, most Americans should be able to find summer picnic foods at close to the average prices found by our volunteer shoppers,” said John Anderson, deputy chief economist at AFBF.

“For many of us, nothing says the Fourth of July more than firing up the grill to prepare a meal,” Anderson said. “We’re fortunate here in America to have a consistent, high-quality supply of meats and poultry that can be grilled or prepared any number of different ways.”

AFBF’s summer picnic menu for 10 consists of hot dogs and buns, cheeseburgers and buns, pork spare ribs, deli potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, lemonade, chocolate milk, watermelon for dessert, and ketchup and mustard.

AFBF used input from 60 volunteers in 22 states to check the prices in this informal survey.

Senate Passes Farm Bill – Again

senateBy a vote of 66 to 27, the full Senate passed its version of a 2013 Farm Bill Monday evening, much to the relief of agricultural interests.

“America’s farmers greatly appreciate the leadership and bipartisan efforts by the Senate to complete their work on the farm bill,” said National Corn Growers Association President Pam Johnson. “We also recognize the efforts put forth to address regional concerns to ensure all areas of the country are adequately represented in the final language.”

“We appreciate the Senate’s decision to protect and strengthen the federal crop insurance program and not reduce its funding, as well as the approval of a commodity program that provides farmers varied safety net options,” said American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman. “This approach to farm policy will encourage farmers to follow market signals rather than basing planting decisions on anticipation of government farm benefits. Most importantly, the program will be viable because the Senate stood firm on a budget savings level of $24 billion.”

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Scott George of Wyoming says while there is not a livestock title, the bill incorporates priorities important to the cattle industry such as conservation and research. “We are also pleased that disaster assistance programs are included in this legislation which is a positive step toward providing a strong safety net for our producers,” said George.

Suffice it to say everybody is pretty happy about it, except maybe Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) who was one of the 27 who voted against the bill. The full House is expected to take up its version of a farm bill next week.

Cost About Same to Gobble Up Thanksgiving Dinner

It will cost you about the same to gobble up your Thanksgiving Day turkey dinner this year as it did last year.

“Our meal for 10 people that includes a 16-pound turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, relish tray, pumpkin pie… the whole nine yards… this year we think is going to cost us $49.48. And that’s only about 28 cents more than we were last year,” explained Bob Young, economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation during an interview at Trade Talk at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention. That translates to less than a 1-percent price increase… not too bad when you consider how some commodity prices spiked due to the drought. In fact, Young pointed out that about the only thing that went up in the Thanksgiving basket was the price of the turkey, increasing just 4 cents a pound. “Given what feed prices did this year, that’s a pretty amazing thing.” Dairy products with the meal actually went down in cost, as farmers in that sector suffered the effects of the drought.

Young went on to point out that overall, the value of the U.S. crop this year increased from this summer’s estimates from about $63-65 billion to today’s $85 billion, because of the high prices when estimates pushed prices for the commodities up and then harvests turned out better than expected. He said while some sectors really took a hit from the drought, such as dairy and hogs, some areas that got good corn crops enjoyed quite a windfall from the higher prices.

Read more about AFBF’s Thanksgiving dinner estimates here.

Listen to Cindy’s interview with Bob where he also discusses the impact of the drought this year and concerns about an increase in the estate tax: Interview with Bob Young, AFBF economist

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Ag Group Leaders Trade Talk on Policy

ZimmCast 373Having the National Association of Farm Broadcasting annual meeting start the day after a presidential election gives leaders of agricultural organizations plenty to talk about at Trade Talk.

In this edition of the ZimmCast, we hear from farmer leaders, lobbyists and staff members with eight different agricultural and renewable energy organizations commenting on the election, farm bill, fiscal cliff and other related issues.

Chuck, Jamie and I did about 65 interviews total at Trade Talk this year and we would have liked to have done more but there’s just not enough time! In this podcast, we have comments from Bob Stallman with American Farm Bureau, Luther Markwart with the American Sugarbeet Growers Association, Tom Buis of Growth Energy, Missouri cattle producer Don Pemberton on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association board, National Corn Growers VP for Public Policy Jon Doggett, Bob Dinneen with the Renewable Fuels Association, US Grains Council CEO Tom Sleight, and US Wheat Associates farmer leader Dan Hughes.

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: Policy Comments from NAFB Trade Talk

2012 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsors, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong and Monsanto, Roundup Ready Plus, for their support.

The ZimmCast is the official weekly podcast of AgWired. Subscribe so you can listen when and where you want. Just go to our Subscribe page.

Iowa Hunger Directory Unvield at WFP

To kick of the 2012 World Food Prize in Des Moines, the 6th annual Iowa Hunger Summit took place. The summit brings attention to issues related to hunger, poverty and malnutrition and is the largest gathering of hunger related organizations based in Iowa. During the luncheon portion of the event, Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad designated October 16 as Dr. Norman E. Borlaug World Food Prize Day.

In addition, a new initiative was announced by Ambassador Kenneth Quin, President of the World Food Prize, called the Iowa Hunger Directory. This program will provide a year-round extension of the Hunger Summit and a vehicle for organizations and individuals to participate in hunger efforts.

“We want to create a comprehensive listing of Iowa organizations combating hunger at home and abroad,”said Quinn during the event. “We know there are dynamic organizations and dedicated people who are working diligently fighting hunger throughout the state and around the world and we want to facilitate their collaboration and connectivity. Also, this will allow us to collect more accurate information on their efforts.”

Between October 2011 and October 2012, over 26 million pounds of food were donated to the fight against hunger in Iowa. The Iowa Hunger Summit is sponsored by Iowa Farm Bureau and FBL Financial Group.

View the World Food Prize Photo Album here.

AgWired coverage of the World Food Prize is sponsored by Elanco

Rally Calls for Farm Bill Now

About 500 people turned out for the Farm Bill Now rally near the Capitol on Wednesday, which featured members of Congress as well as representatives from a number of the nearly 100 organizations who make up the coalition calling for a comprehensive, five year food, farm and jobs legislation before the current bill expires at the end of this month.

The event was co-hosted by American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman and National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson. “Perhaps never in the history of farm legislation have so many diverse farmer and rancher voices joined together for such a common call for action on a farm bill,” said Stallman. “We gather here under a banner adorned with three words. FARM. BILL. NOW. And we are here to raise our voices toward Capitol Hill.”

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson told the rally that there’s no good reason why the House has not yet brought the farm bill passed out of his committee to the floor for a vote. “People say we don’t have the votes, I don’t agree with that,” he said. “We just need the opportunity to have this bill come up and work on it.”

However, Peterson believes that if nothing changes between now and the end of the month, the bill will be put off indefinitely. “This rally is a good starting point, but what we need is 100-200 calls from people in their districts to these members. If you don’t do that, we’re not going to get a farm bill.”

Peterson praised Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow for getting a bill passed by the Senate, and she gave credit to her entire committee for working together to get it done. “We could pay for the national deficit if we had a dollar for every person that said we couldn’t get this done,” Stabenow said. “There’s no reason this farm bill can’t get passed by the House. You just have to want to get it done.”

Stabenow stressed only 18 days are left before the current farm bill expires. On the first day Congress was back in Washington on Monday, she went to the floor of the Senate urging the House leadership to pass a bill in that time. Watch that speech from YouTube.

Farm Groups Urge Senate to Oppose Disaster Bill

A coalition of about a dozen agriculture groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Soybean Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Farmers Union, and the National Milk Producers Federation has urged Senate leaders to “refrain from supporting” any legislation resembling the House-passed disaster bill should it come up in the Senate. This news release from the AFBF says the letter sent to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) states that “such a measure would detract from the larger mission of passing a long-term farm bill.”

“This is something our groups do not support,” the letter stated. “We strongly urge you to refrain from this as we fear that passage of a bill similar to the House bill could result in further delays in completing a full five-year farm bill.”

According to the group, in comparison to a disaster bill, completing a five-year farm bill would deliver assistance to eligible livestock producers nearly as quickly and would put into place certainty for future years, and it is paid for in both the House and Senate versions. This highlights the House disaster bill’s $600 million price tag, which clearly would impact funding available for long-term agriculture needs.

The current farm bill expires at the end of this month, and the group makes the case that the Senate and House versions of the new farm bill have the provisions for disaster relief with long-term benefits.

Astronaut Kelly to Keynote Farm Bureau Meeting

Farm Bureau officials are excited to announce that retired astronaut Mark Kelly will be the keynote speaker at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2013 Annual Meeting, Jan. 13-16, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. While Kelly is known for his work in space, he is also a loving caregiver to his wife former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in January 2011.

Kelly is one of America’s most experienced pilots and has logged more than 6,000 flight hours aboard more than 50 different aircraft. His experience includes 375 aircraft carrier landings, 39 combat missions, more than 50 days in space and serving as commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavor’s final mission.

“We are excited to have Mark Kelly as our keynote speaker,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “His outstanding leadership, dedication to teamwork and courage under pressure are truly inspirational.”

Kelly is also a survivor of prostate cancer and has a new children’s book coming out this fall, “Moustronaut: A Partially True Story.” In remarks posted on YouTube, Kelly says AFBF provides an important forum for farm and ranch families. “I’ve certainly learned a lot about community in my life, and I look forward to sharing [my] experiences.”

The 94th annual meeting is expected to attract more than 5,000 Farm Bureau members from across the country to talk about policy for the group through 2013.

Farm Groups React to Obamacare Ruling

In a split 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has voted to uphold the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Two major farm groups were also split in their evaluation of the decision, with the American Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union both issuing statements yesterday.

Here’s what Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation had to say:

“Farmers, ranchers and rural residents need affordable and accessible health care. We remain concerned that mandating individuals and businesses to buy insurance will impose an expense that creates economic hardship, particularly for self-employed individuals and small businesses.

“We believe one of the primary goals of health care reform should be to reduce costs for participants. The plan reviewed by the Supreme Court would impose a new financial burden on our members. As the legal and political interpretation of this ruling is further analyzed and debated in the weeks and months ahead, it is important to remember that access to affordable health care eludes many American families across the country.

Stallman went on to say he hopes Congress and the President work together to solve some of Farm Bureau’s concerns about the law.

Meanwhile, NFU President Roger Johnson supported the court’s action:

“Farmers, ranchers and rural residents face significant barriers to obtaining accessible, affordable health care. The ACA contains significant, necessary reforms that help all Americans, including those who are self-employed and purchasing expensive care from the individual market, afford insurance and the preventive care they need; provides resources to rural health care providers and incentives to physicians serving in rural areas; bars health care companies from denying coverage to individuals with preexisting conditions; and closes the Medicare prescription drug coverage ‘donut hole.’

“All Americans deserve health care that is comprehensive, affordable and accessible, regardless of occupation or geographic area. NFU commends the Supreme Court on its decision to uphold the ACA, and looks forward to continuing to work with the administration to ensure the law is implemented as written.”

Ag Groups Testify at Senate Farm Bill Hearing

The Senate Agriculture Committee heard testimony from farmers and farm organizations Thursday on risk management priorities for the 2012 Farm Bill.

Among those who testified was National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) First Vice President Pam Johnson. “NCGA has invested time and resources to develop and analyze concepts for a new farm bill that would help farmers in times of need and be a good investment of taxpayer dollars,” said Johnson, a grower from Floyd, Iowa. “We learned that risk management is the number one priority and that federal crop insurance is the cornerstone of a sound farm safety net for the future.”

Johnson says corn growers support a transition away from the direct payments to a revenue-based risk management tool that complements crop insurance, such as the Aggregate Risk and Revenue Management program proposed by Senators Brown, Thune, Lugar and Durbin last fall. “NCGA appreciates the difficult task before your committee to write a comprehensive and balanced farm bill, especially under the current budget constraints,” said Johnson. “But, we urge Congress to pass a farm bill this year. We look forward to working with the Senate Agriculture Committee and other agriculture organizations to craft new farm legislation.”

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman told the Senate panel that national farm policy must strike a balance between the need for a strong, effective safety net to protect farmers and ranchers against catastrophic revenue losses and fiscal soundness for the nation.

“Continuation of a multi-legged stool remains the best approach for providing a fair and effective safety net,” Stallman said. “This should consist of a strong crop insurance program, continuation of the current marketing loan provisions and a catastrophic revenue loss program.”

Stallman said AFBF supports a “deep loss” program that would “not provide producers with payments as often as other proposals contemplated, it would provide more coverage in times of catastrophic losses when assistance is most critical.”

In addition, “As a general farm organization, we place high priority on ensuring the new farm bill benefits all agricultural commodity sectors in a balanced, coordinated manner,” Stallman said. He urged coverage for five fruits and vegetables – apples, tomatoes, grapes, potatoes and sweet corn – in new national farm policy and he expressed Farm Bureau’s support for the concepts included in a bill introduced by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) that would reform and improve the dairy program.

Investing Back In Agriculture

Illinois and fiscal responsibility aren’t exactly words that go hand in hand but Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford is trying to change that.  Earlier this week Rutherford announced his Ag Invest program in conjunction with the Illinois Farm BureauAg Invest (formerly known as Cultivate Illinois) partners with eligible lenders to offer low-interest loans to Illinois farmers that can be used for operating costs, equipment purchases, construction related expenses and livestock purchases.

So why tweak Cultivate Illinois?  Rutherford says their goal is to give Illinois farmers the opportunity to pay less interest in operating expenses.  He adds along with increasing the amount producers can now borrow – the Illinois Treasurer’s office has made the loan process less cumbersome for lenders and farmers.  By reducing the paperwork and tedious questions they are able to streamline the lending process.

The changes made to Ag Invest are key for Illinois Farmers.  Illinois Farm Bureau President Philip Nelson says, “Farming is a capital intensive industry and having access to capital is important to farmers.” He adds this is a positive step the Illinois is taking to assist its largest industry.

Ag Invest

Going Mobile To Teach Children Where Food Comes From

AG CONNECT ExpoOut on the AG CONNECT Expo floor in the AFBF trade show pavilion you’ll find the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s Mobile Ag Ed Science Lab. This is one of a number of mobile classrooms to teach children where their food comes from. The Lab is a project of the PA Friends of Ag Foundation.

I visited with Tonya Wible, Program Director for the project. She says that when they asked children where their food came from it wasn’t just the inner city but also in suburban and even rural areas. So they created this program which now has six mobile labs place across the state. The trailer can accommodate a full size class. It’s a mobile agriculture education science lab, complete with all supplies and a certified teacher, that travels to a different elementary or middle school in Pennsylvania each week. The lab is designed to target grades K through 8.

You can listen to my interview with Tonya here: Interview With Tonya Wible

2011 AFBF Annual Meeting Photo Album

Farm Bureau: Republicans Not Bad for Agriculture

While some are worried that the new fiscal hawks who were elected as the Republicans swept control of the U.S. House will be bad for agricultural interests in this country, the American Farm Bureau Federation says the shift to the right doesn’t necessarily mean the wrong path for farm policies.

“I know there’s people in the press who have said, ‘Oh gosh, [incoming Speaker of the House Republican] John Boehner’s gonna kill farm programs.’ I think that’s far from the truth. He’s a very smart guy, and he’s going to recognize a lot of the new people coming in are rural Republicans, and the Farm Bill’s going to mean a lot to those folks,” Mary Kay Thatcher, Director of Public Policy at AFBF, told our own Cindy Zimmerman during the Trade Talk session at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasters meeting in Kansas City. While she believes farm programs will take some cuts, it won’t be more than what other programs are asked to give up.

She says members of Congress during the lame duck session will kick the budget to the next Congress coming in after the first of the year by passing a continuing resolution and will at least temporarily extend some of the Bush tax cuts before they expire on January 1st. But she’s not as optimistic that the ethanol and biodiesel tax breaks will be extended. Thatcher says they could be renewed on a temporary basis, but she’s not sure after that.

“It’ll be short term … six months, maybe a year … and then the new Congress will have to figure out where do you get the money to pay for that stuff.”

Thatcher says new advocacy groups, such as the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), will be very important to keep the voice of the American farmer alive, despite there being fewer and fewer farmers and fewer and fewer farmers represented in Congress each year.

“I think we’ve got to do everything to try to put that simple message about what farmers do out there. Make sure people know you don’t get milk from a grocery store; you get it from a cow. We’ve probably got to do some advertising, [which] we didn’t have to do in the past,” says Thatcher.

Thatcher says the Farm Bill and biofuels tax credits will be big topics of discussion when the AFBF holds its 92nd Annual Meeting, Jan. 9-12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia … just as the new Congress comes into session in Washington. She admits the ethanol tax credit could end up taking a hit from some of the new fiscal hawks elected this year. Thatcher does believe that farmers will be helped by the fact that Republicans have taken control of Congress, and thus, taken control of the purse strings of the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies that have put up roadblocks. And that could ease some of the restrictions the government has put on the agribusiness sector in the past few years.

Listen to more of Cindy’s interview with Mary Kay here: Mary Kay Thatcher, AFBF