Every four years, the American Farm Bureau Federation asks the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to address the issues that concern farmers and ranchers the most. We asked Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump the same questions.
Are you familiar with the Farm Bill? If you are like most Americans, you probably have a misconception about this important piece of legislation. While the bill is the primary agriculture and food policy tool of the federal government, the name is a misnomer. The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that encompasses commodity programs, crop insurance, nutrition programs, international trade, conservation, , forestry, energy and the well-being of rural communities. It might actually be more accurate to call it the Food Bill since 79 percent of the cost of the bill goes toward nutrition programs and only 21 percent goes towards programs that benefit farmers, ranchers and rural America.
About every 5 years, the Farm Bill must be renewed and the current Farm Bill expires in 2018. So, the next president will need to understand the importance the Farm Bill has for farmers and ranchers, rural communities and all Americans.
We asked each of the candidates the following question:
Federal farm programs and crop insurance provide an important safety net and risk management tool for farmers and ranchers, as well as consumers. Farm programs help keep America’s farmers growing, even after a “bad year,” so our consumers can continue to enjoy a plentiful, affordable food supply. It also provides food security for at-risk segments of the consumer population. Our nation is stronger when the alignment between farm and food assistance policies exists.
Farm programs cost less than 1 percent of our entire federal budget, while they keep our nation strong and non-reliant on other countries for our most basic need–food. Yet these long-standing, much reformed programs have been under fire by liberals and conservatives alike. As president, how will you stand with farm and ranch families and consumers to protect these important programs?
DONALD TRUMP RESPONSE:
“The Trump-Pence Administration will be an active participant in writing the next Farm Bill and delivering it on time! Our farmers deserve a good farm bill written by those who are thankful for our remarkable food system in this country. I support a strong safety net for our nation’s farmers.
“Importantly, I have assembled an Agriculture Advisory Committee comprised of leaders who represent the best that America can offer to help serve agricultural communities. Many of these officials have been elected by their communities to solve the issues that impact our rural areas every day. I’m very proud to stand with these men and women, and look forward to serving with them in serving all Americans from the White House. A full-list of members of my Agriculture Advisory Committee is available at https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/trump-campaign-announces-agricultural-advisory-committee
HILLARY CLINTON RESPONSE:
“Hillary knows the Farm Bill’s reauthorization presents an incredibly important opportunity to set both our agricultural and rural development policy priorities—which are central to our economy, energy, and food security.
That’s why she will work to ensure we provide a focused safety net for farmers and ranchers by continuing to make progress in targeting federal resources in commodity payment, crop insurance, and disaster assistance programs—which is all the more important with current commodity market prices. She will also support the next generation of farmers by doubling funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development program and strengthening USDA grant programs to make them less about bureaucratic buckets and more about funding flexibility, leveraging local resources, and measuring results.
The Farm Bill also provides the opportunity to improve and enhance our rural development programs that are so pivotal to raising the standard of living in many rural communities—including programs to enhance broadband access, improve soil health and manage wastewater, and expand access to credit for small businesses.”