Obama & Romney outline positions on farm issues

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney recently spelled out their positions on agriculture issues for the American Farm Bureau Federation. In a questionnaire, both candidates went into detail about their positions on energy, environmental regulations, farm labor and more.

Every four years, the American Farm Bureau Federation asks the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to address the issues that concern farmers and ranchers most. This election, energy issues and farm policy are the driving forces in the candidate’s responses.

“Our rural communities, farmers and ranchers can increase our energy independence and boost the transition to a clean energy economy,” Obama responded. “Last year, rural America produced enough renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel to meet roughly 8 percent of our needs, helping us increase our energy independence to its highest level in 20 years…and the new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) helped boost biodiesel production to nearly 1 billion gallons in 2011, supporting 39,000 jobs.”

Romney, too, supports the RFS and other agriculture-derived energies.

“I have a vision for an America that is an energy superpower, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies, Canada and Mexico, to achieve energy independence on this continent by 2020,” said Romney. “The increased production of biofuels plays an important part in my plan to achieve energy independence. In order to support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources, I am in favor of maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

On farm policy, Obama said he understands the need for a strong farm safety net. “That’s why I increased the availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance to help over 590,000 farmers and ranchers keep their farms in business after natural disasters and crop loss,” he said. “My administration expanded farm credit to help more than 100,000 farmers struggling during the financial crisis…and as farmers continue to go through hard times because of this drought, we are expanding access to low-interest loans, encouraging insurance companies to extend payment deadlines and opening new lands for livestock farmers to graze their herds.”

Romney said he supports passage of a strong farm bill “that provides the appropriate risk management tools that will work for farmers and ranchers throughout the country.” He also pointed out that his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), voted for drought relief—a bill which the Senate never took up.

When asked why farmers should vote for them, Obama said he is committed to strengthening rural America through growing products that the world wants to buy and restoring middle class values of hard work and play. He further said, “I am the only candidate that is committed to strengthening the farm safety net, strengthening rural economic growth and supporting rural investments in clean energy.”

Romney said if he were elected, he would give farmers relief from hefty environmental regulations, as well as “a commonsense energy policy that develops our resources right here at home; a renewed focus on opening new markets; and a pro-growth tax policy that encourages investment and recognizes that death should not be a taxable event.”

To view the full questionnaires and responses, click here.

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Zach Ducheneaux    
Eagle Butte SD  |  September, 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Two things worthy of noting here: It should be noted that the Senate didn't need to vote on a disaster bill as it had passed it's version of the Farm Bill, with continuing disaster assistance programs included, which Mr. Ryans House will not consider, nor will they pass an alternative. The Disaster Relief Bill that Mr. Ryan voted to support also cuts nearly $600 million (twice the cost of the bill) from EQIP and CSP; two of the most beneficial programs available to mitigate the affects of future disasters.

Jesse McGaha    
Oklahoma  |  September, 25, 2012 at 09:23 AM

The key to checking out the political issues and those who are running for varous elected posts, is this: SERVICE TO AMERICA, and there are just a very very few in our government who are into service to the AMERICAN PEOPLE. Second most important thing is to not believe all the media or new reports, and my #1 key to working in both federal government and in private business is this: SERVICE TO AMERICA and we can perform service work by doing the correct things needed in many subject matters and issues ongoing. Thanks for the news and keep up the reporting work!

Dr. G    
Sullivan, IL  |  September, 25, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Obama has been nothing but bad for agriculture. Fuel prices have doubled under his regime. He wants to hugely increase estate taxes so that the government can still your family farm when Dad passes on. He has devalued the dollar through his "monetary easing." He has succeeded in saddling us with Obamacare. He has shackled us with so many regulations, we can barely move for fear that some government agency is going to come crawling down our throats. He has caused so much upheaval, businesses cannot plan for the future. And he has ratcheted up debt so high we may never get out from under it. Thanks, Obama voters.

Dr. G    
Still in Sullivan  |  September, 25, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Sorry...'steal' your family farm. Typing in a hurry.

SD  |  September, 25, 2012 at 08:03 PM

We've done away with the ethonal subs. So how about taking the big oil subs away and save millions? Let's all remember I think the oil company's record big profits year after year and we continue to make them richer. So let's not blame president Obama for the high oil prices.

Batavia, NY  |  September, 25, 2012 at 08:57 PM

What big oil subs are you talking about? Could you be more specific?

Dr. G    
Sullivan, IL  |  September, 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Brad- Oil prices would be far lower if Obama had approved the keystone pipeline and would stop throwing bureaucratic road blocks in the path of oil producers and refiners. He is greatly to blame.

Henry Parsons    
MA  |  September, 26, 2012 at 01:49 PM

Is there a third candidate...? These two don't get it...Let's concentrate on energy efficiencies and stop putting corn in our gas tanks. The real costs are not just what is at the gas pump. Oil is a finite resource, but our ability to create fuels from grain is not infinite either and challenges our ability to feed the world, whose demands continue to deplete the worlds resources at an alarming rate. A serious education of our public is needed to make them aware of the consequences of unabated consumption.

SD  |  September, 26, 2012 at 02:36 PM

What ever happened to the premise of using WASTE from many sources to make fuel? Since less than 80% of the 'FARM bill' goes to farmers, and as recipients of FOOD STAMPs and similar programs getting that 80% have doubled due to agressive advertising and recruitment programs in the past year, also funded by USDA, we in agriculture are going to have to work diligently to keep the valuable and sorely needed conservation programs even somewhat viable. IMO, we need to focus more on true disaster aid, building food reserves for the USA, and MEANS TESTED food/feeding programs and crop price supports only when the NEED is market driven and is very real.

SD  |  September, 26, 2012 at 05:52 PM

Just Google fuel subsidies and read for yourself. I think there is room for cuts for these rich oil tycoons

Florida  |  October, 29, 2012 at 03:03 PM

Brad Read correctly the oil subsidies are only about 10% of what Obama subsidized green energy. None of the oil companies have gone bankrupt nor are they contribution bundlers for Obama.

Florida  |  October, 29, 2012 at 03:03 PM

Brad Read correctly the oil subsidies are only about 10% of what Obama subsidized green energy. None of the oil companies have gone bankrupt nor are they contribution bundlers for Obama.

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