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How will ag issues fare in a presidential and congressional election year?


Harris Armour
Producer, Somerville, Tenn.

I don’t think agriculture will be forgotten in this election year, mainly because of all the issues surrounding WTO. As a matter of fact, global trade will be front and center. Actually, I haven’t heard agriculture mentioned by any of the presidential candidates, but that does not surprise me. We can accomplish more for the industry by working with our senators and congressmen in Washington who have an appreciation for what we do on the farm. That’s where we can have an impact.

Wes Morgan
Ginner, New London, N.C.

I would hope that agriculture won’t get lost in the shuffle this year even after the Farm Bill is signed into law. However, there’s a chance the public will forget about ag after the bill is signed. There’s always the possibility that our industry will receive some negative publicity from the media, and that will be bad. It’s always amazed me how people still forget where our food and fiber come from.

Mark Williams
Producer, Farwell, Texas

I hate to say this, but sometimes ag issues don’t even show up on the radar screen in an election year. Having said that, I think WTO and trade could be part of the conversation. But as far as farm programs, I don’t really think they’ll come up as part of the dialogue. If I had to pinpoint two issues, it would be trade and maybe ethanol. I believe we’ll hear the presidential candidates talk about those two topics. I’ve heard Sen. Obama talk about ethanol, and he supports it. Sen. McCain, however, has actually come out against ethanol subsidies. So, we’ll see what happens in the fall as we get closer to the election.

Blanche Lincoln
U.S. Senator (D-Ark.)

I would certainly hope that agriculture will be part of the conversation in this election year. But unless it’s a sensationalized story, we probably won’t read anything about it in our newspapers. Unfortunately, it’s not a glamorous issue for the candidates. Agriculture is very complicated. Consequently, you have some folks who just don’t want to take the time to understand it. I have tried to tell people that if they don’t like importing foreign oil, just wait until we start importing food and fiber. They won’t like that at all.

Jay Hardwick
Producer, Newellton, La.

There’s no way that agriculture will be lost in the shuffle in an election year because it’s a critical part of our domestic economic policy. I can’t think of anything that would be more important along with defense and energy. If we’re going to maintain what little balance of trade that we have, we can’t forget the millions of pounds of product that we move every year out of this country. Let’s face it. This country is a huge producer of ag commodities, and I think we will remain so – no matter what happens in the Farm Bill. The long-term outlook still looks good for U.S. agriculture.


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