by Mayzie Purviance
Agriculture — an industry we hold dear to our hearts. Agriculture provides careers for 11 percent of the American population and keeps 100 percent of said population fed and clothed. With the 2020 election fast approaching, it’s important to be informed to make the best voting decision. In the wake of Former Presidential Candidate Mike Bloomberg’s comments on agriculture, the Western Ag Reporter realized the importance of informing readers of the future Oval Office Resident’s stance on agricultural issues.
Last week, the democratic candidates were covered. This week takes a look at the republican candidates.
Does ‘America Deserve Better?’
William “Bill” Weld is a former Massachusetts Governor, attorney, businessman, author, and is currently running for the Republican presidential nomination. Weld is widely credited with digging Massachusetts out of bankruptcy and was ranked the most fiscally conservative governor by the Wall Street Journal.
Although Weld’s website does not have a specific page dedicated to agriculture, he does address the agricultural industry in the following statement on his ‘Jobs and Economy’ tab: “Americans are paying the price. And it’s not just a cost to households – it’s a cost to American workers and businesses as well. Whole industries have been wrecked by this irresponsibility. Agriculture – everything from dairy to soybeans – has been hard hit; just recently Sonny Perdue, Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture, was in Wisconsin telling family farmers that they might have to sell out to corporate agriculture, which of course is what happens when you raise the cost of doing business. That’s particularly true when steel tariffs raise the cost of literally everything made of steel – including farm equipment.”
He went on to say that this same issue happened with the manufacturing industry and spoke negatively of the influx of automation within the workforce — which has left many Americans unemployed.
Weld wrapped up his tidbit on Jobs and the Economy noting, “First we have to end the destructive trade wars that Trump has started, before they send our economy into a tailspin again. That is the lesson of the Smoot-Hawley tariffs of 1930, and it is the lesson of history.”
After doing a quick Google search of Bill Weld on agriculture, this quote was found in regard to his idea of a “carbon fee,” which will be his “one action” to combat climate change.
“… and that would be upstream, meaning it would be applied at the wellhead for oil and gas companies, at the mine shaft for mining companies, at the loading dock for LNG importers. Even agriculture would have to pay a little bit because they do introduce a lot of carbon in the atmosphere.”
To learn more about Weld’s 2020 campaign, visit https://weld2020.org/about/.
Is ‘America Great’ and do you want to keep it that way?
Last but not least, the man who needs no introduction, current President of the United States Donald J. Trump. Trump has stated publicly multiple times that he fully supports American farmers and ranchers.
“Through fires, floods, and freezing weather, we will always stand with the American farmers,” Trump said. “With the passage of the farm bill, we are delivering to the farmers and ranchers — the heart and soul of America — all sorts of things that they never even thought possible. We are ensuring that American agriculture will always feed our families, nourish our communities, power our commerce, and inspire out nation.”
In true Trump fashion, his campaign website does not make any promises for the agricultural industry, but rather states the Trump Administration’s accomplishments.
“On June 6, 2019, President Trump signed the disaster relief bill that provided $19 billion in assistance to states and territories hit by flooding, hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters, including farmers hit by a delayed planting season.
“President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized the production of Industrial Hemp.
“The Department of Agriculture issued guidance that would give more flexibility to state operations of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The new program maximized flexibility and holds states more accountable for the delivery of food benefits.”
This webpage also listed recent achievements for the Trump Administration such as the signing of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 which was put in place to preserve the health of our forests. The website mentioned the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act which protected farmers from unfair trade practices.
The webpage also recalled the signing of an executive order which redirected Federal agencies to streamline the agricultural biotechnology regulatory process as well as the authorization of year-round sales on E15 gasoline which boosted America’s corn growing communities. This webpage also notes the Trump Administration providing $16 billion in funds to support farmers against unfair trade and retaliation.
Other important agricultural accomplishments of the Trump Administration are recent trade agreements with Japan, China, and the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement.
As far as issues worth fighting for in the upcoming years, Trump has suggested focusing on broadband access, improving the lives of rural Americans, developing methods to support a rural workforce, harnessing technological innovation for rural communities, and focusing on economic development in rural areas.
To read more about Trump’s stance on agriculture, visit https://www.promiseskept.com/achievement/overview/land-and-agriculture/BACK