Dairy Stream focuses on policy, sustainability, market trends, new technology and farmer involvement. This podcast is co-produced by the Dairy Business Association and Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, sister organizations that fight for effective dairy policy in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C.
Wednesday Mar 22, 2023
Wednesday Mar 22, 2023
Wednesday Mar 22, 2023
Food system outsiders are paving a path and it could be taking agriculture in the wrong direction. Ray Starling, former Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture and currently the General Counsel at the North Carolina Chamber and an Executive Advisor with Aimpoint Research shares the realities of the food system outsider problem and how we can protect our future. Dairy Stream host Joanna Guza dives into the topics below with Ray:
- 1:39: Farmer vs food system outsider problem
- 5:42: Ah-ha moment and why be so public about this topic
- 8:37: Cultural trends impacting the problem
- 11:48: How the problem impacts public policy
- 13:38: How outsiders are leveraging the legal system
- 18:07: When’s the right time to act
- 24:40: Is this a worldwide problem
- 26:16: Importance of exports
- 27:36: What part of agriculture is the most vulnerable to the problem
- 30:50: How can we bridge the gap between farmers vs food system outsiders
- 34:42: What is the process to fix the problem
- 40:18: How to safeguard the future of agriculture
- 42:00: How to protect animal agriculture from a national and international standpoint
- 42:56: How much time do we have to turn this problem around
Special thanks to the Animal Agriculture Alliance for sponsoring this episode.
Ray will be speaking at the Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit on May 4-5 in Arlington, VA. It is a one-of-a-kind conference attended by a diverse group of decision makers, including representatives from farms, ranches, allied industries, food processors, restaurants, grocery stores, legislatures, universities, government agencies and media. Registration is available through May 1 at bit.ly/AAA23Summit.
About the guest
Ray Starling is an attorney, public policy professional, law professor, ag system thought leader, former Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, and farm kid from Autryville, North Carolina with a tremendous passion for the agriculture industry. With almost three decades of experience in navigating how public policy impacts farmers and agribusiness leaders, Ray has seen a lot, but readily admits we are in the midst of a new era of outside influence in agriculture.
In his role as Executive Advisor for Aimpoint Research, Ray Starling serves as invaluable resource on public policy and legal developments that have the potential to impact the agri-food value chain. He continues to serve as general counsel for the NC Chamber of Commerce and president of the NC Chamber Legal Institute as well. The NC Chamber is the leading business advocacy organization in North Carolina. Its core business is to work in the legislative, regulatory, and political arenas to proactively drive positive change, ensuring that North Carolina is one of the best places in the world to do business. That work paid off recently when North Carolina was named by CNBC as “America’s Top State for Business,” including agribusiness.
Prior to joining the NC Chamber team, Ray served as the Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue where he coordinated execution of the Secretary's policy agenda for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At the time, the agency employed over 100,000 public servants, and received a budget of over $160 billion annually. Ray focused on regulatory and deregulatory initiatives and acted as a point of contact for stakeholders throughout agriculture and rural communities.
He has also served as the principal agriculture advisor to the President of the United States at the White House, as a staff member of the National Economic Council. Ray has served as chief of staff, lead agriculture advisor, and chief counsel for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, and was general counsel to Tillis when Tillis was Speaker of the House in the North Carolina legislature. Early in his career, Ray was general counsel to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, serving alongside the state’s beloved elected Commissioner of Agriculture, Steven Troxler.
Licensed to practice law in North Carolina, Ray has private practice experience and has taught agricultural and food law for several years. He has a bachelor's degree in agricultural education from North Carolina State University (magna cum laude) and a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (with honors). He grew up on a Century Farm in southeastern North Carolina and credits that experience as having more to do with his career path than any other influence or opportunity. His parents continue to farm as does his eldest brother. Ray was a National FFA Officer and is a former 4-H member. He has received numerous honors and awards during his career, including being selected for a Marshall Memorial Fellowship, the flagship leadership development program of the German Marshall Fund.
He has spoken to hundreds of audiences across the United States, and is known for his folksy storytelling style, and perhaps for his southern accent, all combined with insightful information that drives audience members to think about how we navigate the turbulent future of agriculture.
Ray resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, Dr. Tina Starling, and daughter, Victoria.
This podcast is co-produced by the Dairy Business Association and Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, sister organizations that fight for effective dairy policy in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. Become a sponsor, share an idea or feedback by emailing email@example.com.