President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have outlined their positions on farm issues for the American Farm Bureau Federation. Both of the candidates detailed their positions on energy, environmental regulations, farm labor and more in response to a Farm Bureau questionnaire on the issues that concern farmers and ranchers most. Farm Bureau notes energy issues and farm policy were the driving forces in the candidate’s responses.
President Obama said that rural communities, farmers and ranchers can increase our energy independence and boost the transition to a clean energy economy. He noted that rural America produced enough renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel last year to meet roughly eight-percent of our needs – helping us increase our energy independence to its highest level in 20 years. The President also pointed to the role of the new Renewable Fuel Standard in helping to boost biodiesel production to nearly one-billion gallons in 2011 – supporting 39-thousand jobs. Romney is also supportive of the RFS and other ag-derived energies. He responded that he has a vision for an America that is an energy superpower – rapidly increasing its own production and partnering with Canada and Mexico to achieve energy independence on this continent by 2020. He said the increased production of biofuels plays an important part in his plan to achieve energy independence – adding that he favors maintaining the RFS to support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources.
When it comes to farm policy – President Obama said he understands the need for a strong safety net. He pointed to his move to increase the availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance. He also said that his administration expanded farm credit and is expanding access to low-interest loans, encouraging insurance companies to extend payment deadlines and opening new lands for livestock grazing because of the drought. Romney stated support for 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 – Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan – voted for drought relief.
So why should farmers re-elect the President? Obama says he is committed to strengthening rural America through growing products the world wants to buy and restoring middle class values of hard work and play. Further – the President says he is the only candidate committed to strengthening the farm safety net, strengthening rural economic growth and supporting rural investments in clean energy.
Why should farmers vote for Mitt Romney? If elected – Romney says he would give farmers relief from hefty environmental regulations, 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 the candidate’s responses – visit the American Farm Bureau Federation website at www dot fb dot org (www.fb.org).