As President Obama begins his second term, the focus should be on supporting agriculture.
"We have a chance to finish what we started. Our work begins today. Let's go," tweeted President Barack Obama before his official inauguration yesterday morning. Swearing in the 44th president of the U.S. is a historical moment for our nation, regardless of whether you voted red or blue in the last election.
Obama’s inaugural address focused on equality and coming together as a nation. The event was a distinguished affair with former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton in attendance, as well as performances from James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce.
In the next four years, Congress will butt heads on some big issues such as gun control, the fiscal cliff, the war, and the farm bill. As Obama starts his second term, it’s vital that we communicate our priorities to our elected officials in Washington, D.C.
Call me biased, but everyone has to eat. Agriculture needs to be a top priority if we are going to be able to feed the masses and support food security in this country and around the world. And, in order to do that, the Obama administration and Congress must come together to support America’s farmers and ranchers.
The Bismarck Tribune editorialized on this issue yesterday stating that, “The last U.S. Congress, stumbling along the fiscal cliff, fearful of public angst over potential doubling and tripling milk prices, extended the farm bill for nine months. That was not a victory for anyone, certainly not for farmers. It was, according to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, ‘absolutely amazing.’ She was amazed because behind closed doors, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed to a nine-month extension of the 2008 farm bill that changed nothing — not policy or funding. It ignored a bipartisan extension of the farm bill negotiated by Stabenow and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. It certainly left out the consensus on eliminating direct payments to farms, a big hitch in the public’s view of federal farm programs.
'There’s no way to explain this other than agriculture is just not a priority,' Stabenow says.
“That echoed what USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has been saying. President Barack Obama has asked Vilsack to stay on as ag secretary in his second term. Back in December, with the fiscal cliff fast approaching, Vilsack told farm leaders that the nation didn’t have a farm bill because agriculture has ‘become less and less relevant to the politics of this country.’ These comments by key farm officials in Washington set the stage for a new Congress and renewed expectations for writing a farm bill, hopefully a five-year farm bill, which has been the tradition.”
In order to stay in the cattle business, what support, if any, do you need from Congress? What are you looking for in a farm bill? Or would you prefer if it expired? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.