Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Monday 09/24/12

Candidates Respond to Farm Bureau Policy Questions

The American Farm Bureau on Monday released position statements by President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney on several agricultural policy issues.

For the sake of length, I just highlighted a few of the comments from the presidential candidates from their longer responses.

Renewable Energy:

Obama: "We are increasing the level of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline, and the new Renewable Fuel Standard helped boost biodiesel production to nearly 1 billion gallons in 2011, supporting 39,000 jobs."

Romney: "The increased production of biofuels plays an important part in my plan to achieve energy independence. In order to support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources, I am in favor of maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard. I also support eliminating regulatory barriers to a diversification of the electrical grid, fuel system, and vehicle fleet. My policies broadly aim to ensure that all of our energy industries can sustainably become competitive, innovative and efficient."

Clean Water:

Romney: "Modernizing America’s complex environmental statutes, regulations, and permitting processes is crucial to ensuring that the nation can develop its resources safely and efficiently. Laws should promote a rational approach to regulation that takes cost into account. Regulations should be carefully crafted to support rather than impede development. Repetitive reviews and strategic lawsuits should not be allowed to endlessly delay progress or force the government into imposing rules behind closed doors that it would not approve in public."

Obama: "I have seen how we can bolster growth of our nation’s agricultural economy while protecting our environment. Now there is a lot of misinformation out there about changes to clean water standards. We are not going to be applying standards to waters that have not been historically protected. And all existing exemptions for agricultural discharges and waters are going to stay in place."

Farm Policy:

Obama: "And I know that any farm bill passed this year – and there needs to be a farm bill passed this year – needs to have adequate protections for America’s farmers. That’s why I have called for maintaining a strong crop insurance program and an extended disaster assistance program. We can reduce the deficit without sacrificing rural American economic growth, as the Romney-Ryan budget would do. Instead of making farmer pay more for crop insurance, we will do it by cutting subsidies to crop insurance companies and better targeting conservation funding.

Romney: "I support passage of a strong farm bill that provides the appropriate risk management tools that will work for farmers and ranchers throughout the country. In the near term, my immediate priority should be given to enacting disaster relief for those not traditionally covered by crop insurance as this year’s drought has worsened. My running mate, Paul Ryan, voted for this relief in the House. Unfortunately, the Democrat-controlled Senate went home for August break without enacting them."

Estate Taxes

Romney: "As president, I will eliminate the estate tax, helping keep family farms and ranches intact when businesses pass on from one generation to the next. I will also maintain the current 15% capital gains rate for wealthier Americans, while totally eliminating capital gains, dividend, and interest taxes for those who earn less than $200,000 per year. "

Obama: "My proposal would return the top tax rate on estates to 45 percent and reinstate the $7 million per-couple estate tax exemption, which exempts all but the wealthiest 3 in 1,000 decedents from the tax, but still helps us reduce the deficit. Independent experts estimate that under this plan, only 60 small farm and business estates in the entire country would owe any estate tax in 2013."

The full questionnaire and responses from both candidates can be found at…

I can be found on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN.

Posted at 7:22PM CDT 09/24/12 by Chris Clayton
Comments (3)
Keeping Legacies, in Businesses AND Farms, was how earlier Americans built Family Businesses. More Americans need to "own their jobs", a position I have held for three decades. I see little more than lip service for that. More Farm start-ups and more new Businesses in our Rural Communities is a healthy foundation for sustainable growth. The gutting of the Farm Bill in favor of the big industry supporting highly bloated Defense Budget is not the way. Taking money away from seniors and the TRULY disabled is not the way(Though better oversight in these programs is needed.) Forget the "Official" figures, we have nearly 30+% unemployed or under-employed. Not finding work is NOT being lazy. Cutting back the amount and quality of food in times such as this is, frankly, criminal. (And yes, more oversight is needed in SNAP, as well-and by the way, poor quality food, accompanied by stress (Poverty is stressful-who knew?), poor health care, and toxic living conditions will ALSO make you obese. Example: The Tohono O'odham Tribe subsisted for years on nothing but Government Commodities. Over 60% of all, including children have Type II Diabetes. After the addition of a Casino, the Tribe began researching how to change this. See Article: There are answers, but they will have to come from some other source than Political Sound Bites.
Posted by Ric Ohge at 10:26AM CDT 09/26/12
Ric, you are right. There is no telling how many Americans who have had ideas for starting their own business. Maybe making something and selling it or providing a service, these are great examples, but it takes too much permits, lawyers, insurance and capital to begin. The way things are regulated , doesn't allow people to start tiny and crawl before they have to run. Everybody tries to get money out of you and tell you what to do before you can get your feet under you. Too much red stupid tape holding back great ideas and American dreams. I think this is on purpose so the elite can chose who can be successful and control.
Posted by Frank Thomas at 5:54PM CDT 09/27/12
Agreed, Frank. I DO keep wondering WHEN the "Elite" are going to remember that if they obliterate all the "little" guys, where's the bucks going to come from to pay for their lavish isolationist life-styles. Even "High Castles" get successfully stormed by the peasants every now and again. I've been reminding the "Banksters, Gangsters and Shills" to remember the American Revolution...after all, it was Farmer initiated. But perhaps they should ALSO think about that REALLY nasty one that happened a few years later in France, before they propose cutting into our "bread" any deeper-n'est pas?
Posted by Ric Ohge at 10:23AM CDT 09/28/12
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