Farm and biofuel groups congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and stating they look forward to working with Biden on agricultural issues after he was unofficially declared winner of the presidential race on Saturday.
National Farmers Union quickly issued a statement Saturday. NFU President Rob Larew stated, “The last four years haven't been too kind to family farmers and ranchers. Overproduction, rampant corporate consolidation, trade disputes, and climate change have kept commodity prices stubbornly low, causing farm debt to balloon and farm bankruptcies to proliferate."
Larew added, “On the campaign trail, President-elect Joe Biden has indicated that he intends to address many of the concerns we have expressed over the last several years. He has promised to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement as well as provide farmers and ranchers the tools they need to implement climate-smart practices, both of which are top priorities for Farmers Union members. Additionally, Biden has outlined his commitment to revitalize rural economies, enforce antitrust regulation, strengthen the Affordable Care Act, alleviate racial inequities in agriculture, expand rural broadband, and promote homegrown biofuels. These are all reforms that we as an organization have advocated for many years, and it is encouraging to see them incorporated so prominently into the president-elect's platform.
“The vision that President-elect Biden has for America overlaps, in many respects, with National Farmers Union's vision. We stand ready to work with his administration to ensure that its policies and programs adequately represent the interests of family farmers and rural communities.”
Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, also issued a statement and sent out a short video on Twitter congratulating Biden as well. Duvall said American farmers "look forward to working with him as we open up a new chapter in American history."
In his statement, Duvall said, "President-elect Biden will be presented with opportunities to improve the lives of rural Americans and this nation's farmers and ranchers, who are facing challenges never experienced in this country's history. A global pandemic, trade disputes and severe weather have converged to take a mighty toll on agriculture and beyond, impacting families and communities across the United States."
Duvall added, “Unprecedented challenges require courageous leadership and the willingness of all elected leaders to work across the aisle for the good of the nation. Agriculture provides a strong model for that, with a long tradition of aligning behind smart policy, not party lines. We urge all those chosen by the people to use the election to turn the page on partisanship and commit to working together. Show farmers, ranchers and families across America that we will rise to meet the challenges before us together as one nation.
“For agriculture, the priorities include expanding trade and market access so farmers can focus on competing in a fair marketplace. Rural broadband has expanded in recent years, but the time has come to complete the grid and end the crippling disadvantage faced by farms, families and communities without broadband access. The ability of farmers to feed America is directly tied to their ability to attract and hire employees, so we must find a fair solution to the farm labor shortage. We must strengthen the farm bill and build on advancements made toward regulatory reform to remove the barriers to prosperity while protecting resources with which we're entrusted. We urge President-elect Biden to identify these as priorities.
“In addition, with increasing focus on climate-smart farming, we look forward to building on the great strides agriculture has made in reducing per-unit emissions and caring for the land, water and air -- all while feeding a growing population. Our journey of continuous improvement requires collaboration with the Administration and Congress to expand research that unleashes innovation, build on conservation partnerships, and help producers navigate the field of developing ecosystem markets, ensuring they remain voluntary and market based.
“President-elect Biden's term and a new Congress begin a new chapter in America's story. Agriculture has been part of that story since the very first chapter, and we stand ready to work with our elected leaders to ensure farmers and ranchers regain their footing so they can help make America stronger and more prosperous.”
American Farmland Trust highlighted some transition recommendations to address U.S. food security and work on climate change. The plan spotlights five different white papers AFT has drafted that include: 1) Develop a national cover crop initiative; 2) Establish a commission on farm transitions; 3) Maximize the potential of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program; 4) Strengthen the Farmland Protection Policy Act; 5) Create a debt for working lands initiative.
The Renewable Fuels Association also congratulated Biden as well. Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of RFA, stated the group looks forward to working with the Biden administration to develop "a strong and growing market for low-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol.
Cooper added, "During the campaign, Joe Biden repeatedly stressed his support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard, which for 15 years has helped lower fuel costs for drivers, reduce dependence on foreign oil, boost the rural economy, and slash harmful emissions. President-Elect Biden understands that renewable fuels can play an instrumental role in our nation's effort to decarbonize transportation fuels, and he also knows just how important a strong ethanol industry is to our nation's farmers, rural communities, and consumers. We are committed to collaborating with the Biden administration on the many opportunities that lie ahead for renewable fuels."
Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com
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