Farm Bill and Safety Net
President Obama: Any Farm Bill passed this year – and there needs to be a Farm Bill this year – must provide certainty and adequate protections for America’s farmers. I called on Congress to pass a five-year bill that strengthens the farm safety net, including natural disaster relief and a strong crop insurance program. We need to boost economic growth and create jobs in rural America by increasing access to credit for rural small businesses, investing in rural broadband, water and sewer infrastructure, and make it easier for rural communities to access health care.
The next Farm Bill needs to support farmers’ access to crop insurance and extend disaster assistance programs so that farmers have a strong and resilient safety net. In the past three years, I have increased the availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance to help nearly 600,000 farmers and ranchers keep their farms in business after natural disasters and crop loss. My administration has expanded farm credit to help more than 100,000 farmers struggling during the financial crisis to keep their family farms and provide for their families. I created a White House Rural Council to bolster federal assistance to rural America and expand economic opportunities. And as farmers continue to go through hard times because of this drought, we are expanding access to low-interest loans, encouraging insurance companies to extend payment deadlines and opening new lands for livestock farmers to graze their herds. At the same time, our agriculture programs are contributing to our government-wide efforts to cut the deficit by cutting subsidies to crop insurance companies and better targeting conservation funding.
My opponent and House Republicans have a different vision for rural America. The Romney- Ryan budget would continue handing taxpayer money to wealthy farmers, while increasing the cost farmers pay for the insurance that protects them against natural disasters and gutting conservation and rural development programs.
I intend to do everything I can to get a comprehensive and long-term farm bill sent to my desk. But right now, House Republicans are not doing their part. House Republicans rushed out of Washington declaring their work was finished, without allowing a vote on this year’s Farm Bill. The House needs to do its part and pass this bill. Protecting American farmers is too important to let it slip through our fingers.
Governor 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. When considering farm programs, we must be cognizant that our agricultural producers are competing with other nations around the world. Other nations subsidize their farmers, so we must be careful not to unilaterally change our policies in a way that would disadvantage agriculture here in our country. In addition, we want to make sure that we don’t ever find ourselves in a circumstance where we depend on foreign nations for our food the way we do with energy. Ultimately, it is in everyone’s interest to achieve a level playing field on which American farmers can compete.
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