President Obama, Gov. Romney discuss farm issues

Issue Date: October 17, 2012

Every four years, the American Farm Bureau Federation asks the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to address the issues that concern farmers and ranchers most.

This year, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney spelled out their positions on agricultural issues in response to an AFBF questionnaire. Both candidates went into detail about their positions on energy, environmental regulations, farm labor and more.

Their responses to one question are below. To read the full responses from each candidate, see the California Farm Bureau Federation website at

President Barack Obama

Why should farmers and ranchers vote for you?
I am committed to building the foundation for a renewed rural economy so that future generations can enjoy the way of life in rural America. I am building a rural economy built to last—one focused on reclaiming the security of the rural middle class by growing products that the rest of the world buys, and restoring the basic values of hard work and fair play that made our country great. Farmers and ranchers should vote for me because 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.

Not only am I committed to providing farmers the safety net they need to grow America's food, but I am also planning for a strong agricultural future, increasing funding for agricultural research and development by over 20 percent. My administration is boosting rural small businesses by making it easier for them to access the capital they need to sell their products, expand operations and hire workers. And we are investing in a 21st century infrastructure: expanding broadband service for nearly 7 million rural residents. We are working aggressively with our nation's rural communities, farmers and ranchers to increase our energy independence and boost the transition to a clean energy economy. We are also partnering with over 13,000 farmers and ranchers to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that help save energy and improve their bottom line. 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.

Governor Mitt Romney

Why should farmers and ranchers vote for you?
American agriculture needs relief from the Obama administration's crushing onslaught of unnecessary regulations; a common-sense 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. On day one of my administration, farmers and ranchers would have something they've lacked over the past several years: an advocate.

Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of America and play a critical role in ensuring Americans across the country have access to safe and affordable food. The fruit of your labor nourishes the world, and I admire your hard work in harvesting our country's bountiful resources. I also admire our farmers and ranchers for the critical role you play in the health of our economy, employing millions of Americans.

I'm honored to have interacted with so many farmers and ranchers during this campaign, and I'm grateful to have them supporting our efforts to turn around the economy and strengthen the middle class. If you haven't yet signed up to help with the campaign or just want to learn more, please visit my website at Much is held in the balance of this election for all Americans, but particularly for farmers, ranchers and rural communities, and I hope I can count on your vote this Nov. 6.

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