SALEM, Ohio — No matter if they appeared to support him during the campaign or not, many ag groups have issued statements in the past week regarding Barack Obama’s historic election as the 44th President of the United States. Here, their thoughts on what issues are most important to the new administration, and where the Obama-Biden agenda needs to go from here:
Andy Groseta, President
“In the coming years, ranchers, farmers and rural Americans will be significantly impacted by tax policies, environmental regulations, international trade, renewable fuel subsidies, and food safety and nutrition.
“NCBA worked closely with the Obama campaign on each of these concerns, and we have been assured a seat at the table when decisions are made regarding these and other issues of importance to America’s cattlemen and women.
“We appreciate Senator Obama’s commitment to basing decisions on sound economic and scientific evidence. NCBA is eager to share the stories of our cattle producers and discuss the challenges they face today, from estate taxes that cause families to lose century-old ranches, to the high corn prices resulting from ethanol subsidies that create unfair competition in the marketplace.”
Bob Stallman, President
“Farmers and ranchers, like all Americans, have a list of issues that they expect the administration and Congress will address. The issues include the economy, energy, immigration, trade, implementation of the farm bill and many others.
“We know there are many points of views on these issues, but we also know that our elected leaders have one thing in common: Each person elected to office ran for office to improve this country and will work on these issues to make America better and to improve our country for all Americans.”
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“Throughout this campaign, President-elect Obama has reiterated that American farmers and ethanol producers are a critical component of our national strategy to help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. In addition, President-elect Obama has steadfastly held that ethanol, biodiesel and other forms of renewable energy need to be the building blocks of a new, green economy to generate much-needed economic activity, jobs, and opportunities that harness the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that has made our country great.
“We look forward to working with an Obama administration … to ensure the full potential of America’s home grown ethanol industry is realized. This means continuing consistent public policies that allow investments in technology and infrastructure to be made with confidence, expanding the markets for ethanol in a manner that is responsible and collaborative with other stakeholders, and fostering the kind of innovative expertise necessary to continuing moving this industry forward.”
Toni Nuernberg, Executive Director
“… Those of us in the biofuels industry will not forget the role energy independence played in the 2008 presidential election. The quest for a more secure energy future was not just discussed as an economic issue, but as a matter of national security.
“The candidates may have disagreed on the path to energy independence, but they found common ground on the notion that the status quo was unacceptable. …
“The goal of energy independence won’t be easy. It is going to take hard work, innovation, investment, conservation, collaboration and patience both from the biofuels industry and the public. It also is going to require change to a more diversified energy portfolio of clean home-grown alternative fuels and renewable energy.”
Jim Greenwood, President and CEO
“From health care to energy to climate change to environmental sustainability, President-elect Obama will enter office facing a daunting array of complex challenges threatening the well-being of our nation and the environmental health of our planet.
“Biotechnology is uniquely suited to help provide answers to these challenges. Biotechnology provides hope for millions of people suffering from debilitating diseases … By reducing the incidence of disease, we can dramatically reduce health care costs and help spur economic growth. Biotechnology provides the key to sustainable, renewable alternative fuels that increase our nation’s energy security. And we develop crops that produce more food per acre while requiring less plowing, reducing fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions, and overall environmental impact.
“Biotechnology is one of the most promising sectors of America’s burgeoning innovation economy. To continue our nation’s global leadership in innovation and continue to fulfill the promise of biotechnology, we will work with President-elect Obama and the new Congress to ensure that we have the proper public policies that promote and facilitate continued innovation.”
Bob Dickey, President
Throughout this year, NCGA has worked with the president-elect’s campaign staff and advisers as they reached out to the agricultural community and developed a variety of policy positions that would impact the industry.
“We have appreciated Sen. Obama’s leadership on issues ranging from strong safety net programs within the farm bill to the promotion of corn-based ethanol as an important source of domestic energy.
NCGA recognizes the major challenges facing President-elect Obama, including a number of priorities in the agricultural sector such as renewable fuels, trade, and farm bill implementation.
Max Thornsberry, President
“Over the last decade, R-CALF USA members have successfully elevated a number of key cattle industry issues to the highest levels of Congress ….
“The changes we seek, but have not yet achieved, are more important now than ever. These changes are needed to ensure that the U.S. cattle industry, which helped to build our U.S. economy in the first place, is positioned to help rebuild our national economy now.
The changes we seek are straightforward. We seek to:
1) Restore the competition lost to our industry caused by years of neglect of our antitrust laws and laws to prevent anti-competitive practices;
2) Reverse the failure to update laws to reflect the changed structure of our industry;
3) Reverse the failure to incorporate the unique sensitivities of our industry in trade negotiations;
4) Halt the failure to differentiate domestic products from imported products;
5) Stop the failure to adequately protect our industry from the introduction of foreign animal diseases; and,
6) Reverse the general failure of the government to protect the rights and property of independent U.S. cattle producers.
See how the 2008 election will affect the Obama Administration’s Cabinet positions, as well as the balance of power in the House and Senate.