- An Open Letter from President Obama
- President Obama Establishes White House Rural Council
- Agriculture Secretary Joins Nutrition Partners to Launch Childhood Hunger Campaign
- USDA Awards Grant to Improve Nutrition Assistance to Low-Income Children During Summer Months
- Statement from YDA Labor Caucus Chair Michael Corbett on the current threat to workers and their families in Wisconsin
October 5, 2012
Dear Fellow Citizens,
America owes a debt of gratitude to you, our farmers and ranchers. American agriculture is the backbone of our country, providing our food and energy security and leading our economic recovery. You’re doing your part to create an economy meant to last that rebuilds rural middle-class security and restores the basic values of hard work and fair play that made our country great.
But right now, House Republicans are not doing their part. When so many farmers and ranchers are hurting because of the devastating drought, Congress needs to come together to ensure that farmers and ranchers affected by drought have disaster assistance, that crucial programs for dairy farmers don’t expire, and that farmers have peace of mind for next year’s crop. But House Republicans rushed out of Washington declaring their work was finished, without allowing a vote on this year’s Farm Bill.
My opponent, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, is the leader of the Republican Party and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, is leading the House blockage of a bipartisan farm bill. Together, they are rejecting what’s right for American agriculture. To pay for their tax cuts for the richest Americans, farmers facing severe drought and natural disasters would pay more for their crop insurance, and conservation programs would be gutted. Their budget could cut programs that support rural schools, small businesses, housing and economic development by nearly 20 percent, undermining rural economic growth and rural middle-class security.
We can’t let that happen.
We need to strengthen the farm safety net, not shred it. That’s why I’ve called for extending disaster assistance programs and expanding crop insurance. We’ll reduce the deficit by cutting wasteful subsidies to crop insurance companies, reforming commodity programs, and better targeting conservation investments, instead of leaving hardworking farmers and ranchers without a safety net and support.
Together we’re strengthening rural economic development through investments in small businesses, infrastructure and clean energy. My administration is helping rural small businesses access the capital they need to expand operations and hire workers. Local communities are leveraging federal investments to put folks back to work modernizing water and sewer systems and expanding broadband service for nearly seven million rural residents.
We’re reducing our dependence on foreign oil and transitioning to a clean energy economy. Tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers are installing clean energy projects that help improve their bottom line. Last year, America’s farmers produced 14 billion gallons of renewable fuels, about eight percent of total U.S. highway vehicle fuel. American biofuels are increasing our energy independence and cultivating homegrown energy. Clean energy can also provide farmers with additional income security, which is why I called on Congress to extend tax incentives for wind energy production. Mitt Romney would let those credits expire, along with tens of thousands of American jobs.
But most critical, we must pass a Farm Bill this year. Tell your Members of Congress that now is the time to get this done. Too many Americans are suffering right now to let politics get in the way. And don’t forget to register to vote – and vote early if you can. If you’ve got any questions about voting, visit www.gottavote.com – your voice and your vote in this election will make the difference in keeping us moving forward, together.
And in the meantime, I’ll keep doing everything I can to help communities respond to the drought and get a Farm Bill passed. Because at times like these and no matter where we live, we’re Americans first. And if we look out for each other, we’ll come out of this stronger than before.
Last week, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council. This council will focus on policy initiatives for Rural Americans.
As Chair of the YDA Rural Caucus, I am pleased to hear about the establishment of this council. Rural Americans, especially rural youth, face unique challenges day in and day out. Whether it is access to quality health care, jobs, or educational opportunities, it can be challenging to live in rural America.
We applaud the President and his administration for making strides in improving rural life. In the past few years, we have seen more access to broadband, the improvement of our health care system, and emphasis on alternative energy production. We are eager to see the policy initiatives that come as a result of this council.
Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, will be chairing the council. He stated:
“In the end, millions of Americans are counting on us to ensure that young people growing up in rural places have a bright future ahead – that they can envision a tomorrow that includes a job, and a vibrant rural community that they can call home. Ensuring that tomorrow begins with the actions we take today.”
This council comes at a crucial time in rural America where many of our small towns are slowly losing population and jobs are leaving our communities. I hope this council seeks a solution to these and many of the other problems we face in rural America. As a young mother living in a rural area, I hope that my 4-month-old daughter will someday have the pleasure of raising her family in a small town. My upbringing in small town Oklahoma has made me the person I am and I am very proud of where I am from. We must find solutions for a better tomorrow so that future generations will get the pleasure of living a rich life in our rural communities.