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Senatorial candidates square off on Ohio agriculture

Each candidate for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat was asked to respond to this question:

Why should Ohio’s farmers vote for you and your ideas on farm policy?

 

Incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown (D)

I am working every day in every way I know how to support Ohio’s farmers and agricultural community. Approximately one out of seven jobs in Ohio is tied to agriculture, making it our largest industry. As the first Ohio Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in 40 years, I have travelled throughout the state listening to Ohio’s farmers and taking their concerns and needs back to Washington. Some of the ideas brought up at these community roundtables have led me to reach across the aisle and work with some of my Republican colleagues to better protect Ohio’s farmers.

I was a vocal supporter of both the 2012 and 2008 Farm Bills. The 2012 version needs to pass to ensure a number of vital programs remain in effect and provide much needed relief to farmers affected by the recent drought. I was able to secure a number of provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill, including the crucial Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program, which allowed farmers to choose between traditional farm programs and other options that protected against drops in prices and yield. This gave farmers more options and taxpayers would save more than $1 billion. For my work to reform the 2008 Farm Bill, I earned the prestigious “President’s Award” from the National Corn Growers Association.

This year, I was proud to work across the aisle with Republicans John Thune of South Dakota and Dick Lugar of Indiana on the Aggregate Risk and Revenue Management Program which is designed to simplify, consolidate and streamline existing commodity programs that were part of the 2008 Farm Bill.

The produce we buy for our families shouldn’t have to travel halfway around the world to get to our dinner tables. I am committed to supporting “Made-in-Ohio” products and introduced the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act to create jobs, increase access to locally grown foods and boost Ohio’s rural economy. We need to support our local farms and the products they make to create more jobs and a healthier Ohio.

Ohio farmers not only feed our families, but are increasingly producing products that are turned into chemicals, plastics and lubricants to support Ohio’s biobased products industry. My Grow It Here, Make It Here initiative would help the industry create jobs, expand markets and encourage the development of new agricultural innovations.

In order to boost job creation and improve business, Ohio’s rural communities need broadband Internet access.  I fought for funding for projects to improve access to broadband for small towns and rural areas and I will continue fighting to ensure these communities have opportunities to expand economic development.

Ohio farmers are helping to drive our economy forward. I will never stop fighting to protect Ohio’s farmers and ensure their needs and concerns are heard in the Senate.

 

U.S. Senate Candidate Josh Mandel (R)

As Senator, I will fight across-the-board for the policies and values that are important to farmers and ag-related businesses, from taxes to trade to regulations. As Ohio’s number one industry, I believe agriculture will contribute greatly to Ohio’s economic recovery, and can also be a unique beneficiary of our economic rebound as well.

Federal estate tax policy threatens the future of family farming. I fought to end the “death tax” in Ohio, and I will do the same at the federal level. Washington politicians covet your land and money. They care more about redistributing your assets after your death than allowing your heirs to continue your business. I value the rich tradition of farming in Ohio that has been passed on from generation to generation and I will do everything I can to help preserve that tradition. One big step in that direction is to eliminate the federal estate tax that Sherrod Brown voted to increase.

I will also fight to stop the federal overreach into the private sector and personal lives of our citizens. Farmers work hard to help provide a safe, abundant and affordable food supply to our community, state, nation and world. The vast majority of farmers care deeply about the environment and about the safety of their products. They certainly know and care more about agriculture than any federal bureaucrat does. Federal agriculture policy should reflect that fact. But instead, Washington politicians keep enabling Washington bureaucrats to expand federal authority into new areas of agriculture, from drones to water to dust. I will fight to reverse this trend and instead make federal regulatory policy pro-farmer and based on the principles of limited government and common sense.

I will also work to eliminate the onerous regulations and burdensome tax policies that hurt us at home and make us less competitive abroad. The out-of-control borrowing and spending in Washington has hurt our federal credit rating and burdened taxpayers and business owners. I have a plan to cut federal spending immediately, cap it moving forward, and balance the budget to begin paying down our $16 trillion national debt. I will also fight the costly and unnecessary EPA regulations that target farmers and hurt their ability to run their business.

Finally, I want Ohio to lead an economic revolution in the energy sector. Washington bureaucrats and radical environmentalists are standing in the way of our ability to responsibly explore for Ohio energy. Allowing us to harness this energy, in addition to all of the renewable energy Ohio can uniquely provide, means cheaper energy, more jobs, more money for local schools, and better national security.

Career politicians in Washington don’t understand agriculture. They understand government. My goal is to get Washington out of the way, shrink the size of government and give hardworking men and women in Ohio the freedom and resources to grow.

 

 

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