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12 Feb 2016 - Will Candidates EVER Recognize Agriculture

Every four years during the run for the White House, I wonder how much the candidates know about agriculture and agribusiness, the importance of agricultural trade and the contribution that agriculture makes to our national economy. I wonder if they look at the 2% of our population involved in the production of food, fiber and energy, and say that is such a small percentage of voters, it’s not worth spending time and money to attract the agricultural vote. I hear very little mention of our basic industry from any of the candidates.

I imagine they had to mention it in Iowa because of the importance of ethanol and soy diesel to the state’s economy, but I wonder if they really had any idea how many jobs depend on agriculture. They may have mentioned agriculture in TV debates, but I do not watch Republican or Democratic debates a year ahead of the election because all I hear is how bad all the opponents are and how every candidate will make America safer and life better for all of us, without ever providing us details on how they will accomplish that.

My question is - If you are a farmer or rancher, what candidate has enough knowledge of your industry to win your vote? I know that human beings need at least three things to survive on the planet...clean air, clean water and safe food, and agriculture is involved in all three of them. I would like to hear the candidates discuss the policies they would put in place to keep America the only country in the world that doesn’t have to depend on any other nation for its food.

I don’t know who will get the farm vote, but an article in the January issue of Farm Futures magazine may give us an idea. It took a look at political contributions to the candidates from farm country and found that over $500,000.00 has been given to candidates in this election cycle. The candidate getting the most money from farm country is Ben Carson who received one-fifth of the total, $99,000 from 219 supporters. Not far behind in second place was Ted Cruz with $90,000. Other on the list were...
Number 3 Jeb Bush
Number 4 - Rand Paul
Number 5 - Hillary Clinton
Number 6 - Marco Rubio
Number 7 - Bernie Sanders
At the bottom of the list, someone who didn’t stay in the race very long - Bobby Jindal received $300 from one contributor.

I doubt that money given to candidates will result in anything positive for agriculture. I would like to see them at least recognize agriculture as the most vital industry in the United States and the world.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.