WASHINGTON, September 25, 2012 – President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney outlined reasons why farmers and ranchers should support their respective goals for the next presidential term in American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) questionnaire. 

Among his reasons, Romney said “American agriculture needs relief from the Obama Administration’s crushing onslaught of unnecessary regulation,” as well as a “pro-growth tax policy that encourages investment and recognizes that death should not be a taxable event.”

Obama promoted his energy policy as an attractive opportunity for rural America. “Unlike my opponent, I understand that clean energy can provide farmers with additional income and economic security, which is why I have called on Congress to extend tax incentives for wind energy, which Mitt Romney would let expire,” he said. 

Every four years, AFBF asks the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to address issues that concern farmers and ranchers. This year, identical policy questions posed to each candidate include topics on energy, environment, farm policy, fiscal policy, labor, taxes and trade. AFBF noted that in this election, energy issues and farm policy are the driving forces in the candidate’s responses.

“Our rural communities, farmers and ranchers can increase our energy independence and boost the transition to a clean energy economy,” Obama responded. “Last year, rural America produced enough renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel to meet roughly 8 percent of our needs, helping us increase our energy independence to its highest level in 20 years…and the new Renewable Fuel Standard helped boost biodiesel production to nearly 1 billion gallons in 2011, supporting 39,000 jobs.”

Romney also supports the RFS and other agriculture-derived energies.

“I have a vision for an America that is an energy superpower, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies, Canada and Mexico, to achieve energy independence on this continent by 2020,” said Romney. “The increased production of biofuels plays an important part in my plan to achieve energy independence. In order to support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources, I am in favor of maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

On farm policy, Obama said he understands the need for a strong farm safety net. “That’s why I increased the availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance to help over 590,000 farmers and ranchers keep their farms in business after natural disasters and crop loss,” he said. “My administration expanded farm credit to help more than 100,000 farmers struggling during the financial crisis…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.”

Romney said he supports passage of a strong farm bill “that provides the appropriate risk management tools that will work for farmers and ranchers throughout the country.” He also pointed out that his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), voted for the drought relief bill, which the Senate did not consider. 

When asked why farmers should vote for them, Obama said, “I am the only candidate that is committed to strengthening the farm safety net, strengthening rural economic growth and supporting rural investments in clean energy.”

Romney said if elected, he would give farmers relief from burdensome environmental regulations, as well as “a commonsense energy policy that develops our resources right here at home; a renewed focus on opening new markets; and a pro-growth tax policy that encourages investment and recognizes that death should not be a taxable event.”

To view the full questionnaires and responses on the AFBF website, click here.


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