With just weeks to go before the November election, rural areas are poised to have a significant impact on who will be the next president as well as countless other candidates and initiatives. Yet, many rural counties are still struggling with COVID-19, high unemployment and the environmental impact from natural disasters and wildfires. How will all of these competing and often complex factors affect choices when rural residents vote?

Those are some of the topics Agri-Pulse plans to explore during a webinar discussion about “The Intersection of Rural America & Manufacturing: A Preview of Election Issues with Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-N.M, Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D. and AEM’s Kip Eideberg” on Sept. 29 from noon to 1 p.m. EST. Agri-Pulse Managing Editor Spencer Chase will serve as moderator.

Agri-Pulse first launched in-depth election coverage for the 2016 cycle and we have expanded our reports and analysis under a new series called Campaign 2020, said Agri-Pulse Editor Sara Wyant. “This year’s coverage is exploring important House and Senate races and takes a close look at how the presidential campaigns are addressing farm and rural policy issues.”

Both members of Congress represent rural districts and are members of the Problem Solvers Caucus.

“COVID-19 exposed cracks in our systems,” said Johnson. “From supply chain issues to foreign investments, Congress needs to support policies that strengthen American agriculture producers and manufacturers. Our rural communities have been tested this year — I’ll continue to advocate for South Dakota’s crucial industries.”

Rep. Torres Small agreed that COVID-19 has been especially tough on rural areas.

“COVID-19 has pushed rural communities to their limits — from our agricultural producers to our health care providers, we’ve had to find ways to work together to support each other during these difficult times. Look no further than our grocery stores, food pantries, and schools which remain stocked thanks to the tireless work of our agricultural producers and workers. From CFAP to PPP, Congress provided what was needed to help our agricultural producers and manufacturers through the early days of the pandemic. Now, we must focus on what they need to outlast the pandemic and to continue their critical role in our country for generations to come,” said Torres Small.

AEM is a sponsor of both Campaign 2020 and this upcoming webinar, which will focus on rural issues like the need for better broadband and other types of infrastructure, workforce development and rural economic development challenges.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how critical manufacturers and farmers are to our economy and our way of life,” said Kip Eideberg, AEM senior vice president of government and industry relations. “As we continue to navigate the unprecedented challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are looking to their elected officials to support pro-manufacturing policies and work in a bipartisan fashion to make sure that manufacturers and rural communities continue to thrive.”

Register now to join the webinar by clicking here:

Learn more about the speakers:

Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, was sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives on January 3, 2019 and is currently running for reelection. Her district is the largest by area in the nation outside of the at-large congressional districts and covers the southern half of New Mexico. A lawyer, Torres Small previously worked as a field representative for U.S. Sen. Tom Udall from 2009 to 2012 and was a federal law clerk in the New Mexico District from 2015 to 2016. She also worked as a water attorney with the Kemp Smith law firm. She is a member of the Agriculture, Homeland Security and Armed Services Committees and caucuses with the Blue Dog Coalition, the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the New Democrat Coalition and the Problem Solvers Caucus.

Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D. was sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives on January 3, 2019 is currently running for reelection for South Dakota’s at-large congressional district. He previously served as a South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner from 2005-2011 and then was appointed chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard. He resigned from that post in 2014 to join Vantage Point Solutions in 2014, a position he held until being elected to Congress. Johnson serves on the Agriculture and Education & Labor Committees and caucuses with the Problem Solvers Caucus.

Kip Eideberg is the Senior Vice President of Government and Industry Relations for AEM. He previously worked as V.P. for Public Affairs & Advocacy for AEM and prior to that, as Partner & Director of Public Affairs for Finn Partners and as a V.P. for Edelman.

About Agri-Pulse: Agri-Pulse is the most trusted source for farm and rural policy information in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, CA, providing a balanced perspective on a wide variety of issues including the farm bill, nutrition, trade, labor, food safety, water, environment, biotechnology, organic, conservation and crop insurance. Agri-Pulse publishes a subscription-only e-newsletter, the Agri-Pulse Daily Harvest early morning news summary, Agri-Pulse Daybreak, Agri-Pulse DriveTime podcast, and breaking news on www.Agri-Pulse.com.

About AEM: 

AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry supports 2.8 million jobs in the U.S. Equipment manufacturers also contribute $288 billion a year to the U.S. economy.