Power of Story Send a Tweet        

Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 2 (2 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   1 comment
OpEdNews Op Eds

McCain and Obama Need to Talk Real Farm Policy

By       Message Jim Goodman       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) , Add Tags  (less...)  Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 10/15/08

Author 4765
- Advertisement -
John McCain and Barack Obama need to start talking farm policy. With less than a month before the November elections in a year marked by a world wide food crisis, energy shortages, climate change and an international credit crisis, agriculture should be a prominent issue in every media event.

Current farm policies are more about corporate agribusiness and globalization than local food production and shortening the food supply chain. While the farm vote may be viewed as insignificant, the importance of agriculture to the economy, or the food in one's belly is quite significant. Many consider rural America "fly over" country, but the candidates need to verbalize their plans to reshape US agriculture.

"At the end of the day." rising food prices and widespread food shortages alone, should make the case for paying more attention to agriculture. Bigger picture issues like water use, high fuel prices and global warming should certainly bring the candidates to focus on rural America, often and in detail. Their simplistic statements that "bio-fuels are the solution" and "we will revitalize rural America" just don't cut it.

Energy crops play prominently in the energy policies of both McCain and Obama, yet neither explain how we are supposed to simultaneously grow more food and more fuel. Neither explain why food prices are climbing while farmers cannot make a profit. Neither explain why, with the current high fuel prices the government continues to subsidize corporate oil.

The economic crisis and collapse of the credit industry are issues central to both candidates, but I have yet to hear either pay serious attention to the effect tightening credit will have on farmers whose operations depend on credit.

- Advertisement -

While we have heard precious little discussion of farm policy, both candidates do have farm policies, but neither seem willing to bring them into open forum. Poking around in their websites one can find policy statements on all those "lesser issues", agriculture, urban affairs, transportation etc, issues that are not always part of the stump speech, in spite of their importance.

McCain's farm policy really never mentions food, local production or the rural economy. He never mentions a living wage. His agriculture policy amounts to energy security (bio fuels), deregulation (get the government out of farming, except to dole out subsidies), expanded property rights (more guns and more compliant judges??), increased agriculture exports (more free trade), increased use of new technology (more genetically engineered crops) and securing the borders against those pesky migrant workers. Not much new there.

Obama has at least thought about food and farming in an era of declining oil. He specifically calls for more local, organic and sustainable production, help for new young farmers and strict regulation of the largest industrial farming operations, those that are the least efficient and the most environmentally damaging. Like McCain however, Obama seems to think that bio-fuels will save the farmer and life as we know it. Truth is, farming is not the answer to our energy problems, farmers can produce food efficiently, _not energy.

- Advertisement -

While policy positions are just that, positions, not necessarily priorities or action plans, Obama has at least struck out new ground in his vision for the future of farming. McCain it seems, looked at the failed policies of the past several administrations and said, you betcha! That looks good.

We can't expect food policies that have failed miserably to do anything other than fail again. Globalization, industrial farming and high tech agriculture have not brought us into a golden age of agriculture, they have given us a food crisis. While Obama has fundamental flaws in his farm policy, he has at least, tried to move beyond the failed policies of Reagan, Clinton and Bush. _ As John Nichols notes, "it is fundamental that when a new administration takes charge we need new farm policies." Come January, we must demand new policies and we must, by continued participation in our democracy, force that change.

As the campaigns mercifully draw to a close, both candidates need to get closer to rural America and talk openly to the heartland. They might be surprised to learn people do care about food, where and how it is produced. William Jennings Bryan once gave a speech while standing in a manure spreader. He lost, but what farmer wouldn't remember a speech like that?

 

Jim Goodman is a farmer from Wonewoc Wisconsin and a Food and Society Policy Fellow

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Jim Goodman, a WK Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow, is an organic dairy farmer and farm activist from Wonewoc Wisconsin. Encouraging local food production and consumption in the industrialized north, allowing the global south sovereignty in (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Think Before You Eat, Agriculture and the Environment

Will a new Administration give us the "Safest food supply in the World"?

Don't Take My Vote For Granted

Cloning, Anything but Natural

McCain and Obama Need to Talk Real Farm Policy

Centrist Cabinet, Progressive President ?