Ohio Farm Bureau asked the Presidential contenders what they believe is the appropriate role of government in assuring Americans continue to have access to a safe, affordable and abundant food supply. Their answers follow.
Strong and prosperous agricultural communities lead to a strong and prosperous America. Under my leadership, Agriculture has been one of the fastest-growing parts of our economy, creating one out of every 12 American jobs. In 2011, American farm income reached the highest point since 1974, with a record number of agricultural exports, which means more of our products are being sold in markets around the world.
American agriculture provides domestic food security for millions of Americans. Our farmers deserve a strong farm safety net while they work to feed America. My administration has increased the availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance to help 575,000 farmers and ranchers keep their farms in business after natural disasters and crop loss. And I am planning for a strong agricultural future, proposing a 23 percent increase in funding for research and development to improve agricultural productivity.
The need for a strong safety net has never been more apparent than this summer, as drought conditions impact communities from California to Ohio. My administration is taking concrete steps to help farmers and ranchers across Ohio manage this natural disaster. We have streamlined the process for designating disaster areas — designating over 1,500 counties across 32 states and making qualified farm operators in those areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. We worked with crop insurance companies to allow families a longer grace period for paying their premiums. And we are helping livestock producers by opening up new lands for grazing and making it easier for them to access the feed and water they need.
I will continue to stand by our farmers, ranchers and rural communities and take all possible action to help our country and economy and ensure food security for all Americans. And I will continue to call on Congress to pass a comprehensive, multi-year farm bill that not only continues to provide much-needed disaster assistance, but gives farmers and ranchers the certainty they deserve while enacting critical reforms.
American agriculture is a powerful economic force and a bright spot in our struggling economy.
I applaud the hard work and extraordinary productivity of America’s farmers and ranchers, and their dedication to ensuring a safe and affordable food supply for our country. Family farms and ranches are at the heart of what makes our country great: small business owners who have built their livelihoods literally from the ground up.
As president, I will be an advocate for America’s farmers and ranchers. I will work with Congress to fully repeal the death tax, which can have a devastating impact on family farms. I will also reverse President Obama’s careless attitude toward the regulation of agriculture, from teenagers working on their family farms to the dust blowing off of fields. Farmers and ranchers face enough challenges from the natural world; they shouldn’t have to feel under attack from Washington as well.
In addition, I will support strong trade policies that open new markets for our agricultural products. Lastly, energy costs are enormously important to agricultural producers, and as president, I will work to expand America’s domestic energy production and bring down the cost of energy for both businesses and families.
I recognize that our government has an important role in guaranteeing that Americans have the safest, most abundant, most secure, and most affordable food supply in the world. To accomplish these important goals, we must ensure that ranchers, farmers, and rural communities have the tools and resources they need to prosper.