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New Farm Bill Topic of Sept. 7 Webinar
Author: Bobby Coats, Professor of Economics

By Bobby Coats, Professor of Economics 

Food and agribusiness webinarHost: Bobby Coats, Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service. E-mail:

Producer: Mary Poling, Coordinator for Interactive Communications, University of Arkansas System Division of Ag, Cooperative Extension Service, E-mail:

Title: Will it be a 2017 or 2018 Farm Bill? (60 minutes)

Presenter: Mary Kay Thatcher, Senior Director of Congressional Affairs, American Farm Bureau Federation

Description: Mary Kay will review the status of ongoing discussions about the upcoming farm bill and give us some “inside the Beltway” insight into what is likely to be debated and the interaction of this Administration and budget negotiations.

Registration link for Sept. 7th at 10 AM CST webinar:

About the speaker, Mary Kay Thatcher, Senior Director of Congressional Affairs, American Farm Bureau Federation:

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 about 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.

Mary Kay 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.

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