Are you ready to Vote 4 Ag?

Election 2012Tomorrow I will be voting for my values and for agriculture. Are you ready to vote?

I haven’t found any sources better than the National Corn Growers Association’s nonpartisan survey responses submitted by President Obama and Governor Romney. The information provided by both candidates is meant to help interested voters gain information on the issues that impact agriculture and rural America. To read the questionnaire in its entirety, go to:

Here is a recap on a few issues important to me.

Farm Bill and Safety Net
Romney: I support passage of a strong farm bill that provides the appropriate risk management tools that will work for farmers and ranchers throughout the country. When considering farm programs, we must be cognizant that our agricultural producers are competing with other nations around the world.  Other nations subsidize their farmers, so we must be careful not to unilaterally change our policies in a way that would disadvantage agriculture here in our country.  In addition, we want to make sure that we don’t ever find ourselves in a circumstance where we depend on foreign nations for our food the way we do with energy.  Ultimately, it is in everyone’s interest to achieve a level playing field on which American farmers can compete.

Obama: Any Farm Bill passed this year – and there needs to be a Farm Bill this year – must provide certainty and adequate protections for America’s farmers. I called on Congress to pass a five-year bill that strengthens the farm safety net, including natural disaster relief and a strong crop insurance program. We need to boost economic growth and create jobs in rural America by increasing access to credit for rural small businesses, investing in rural broadband, water and sewer infrastructure, and make it easier for rural communities to access health care.

Corn-based Ethanol/Renewable Energy
Obama: We must invest in a clean energy economy that will lead to new jobs, new businesses, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I recently announced a new goal of cutting oil imports in half by the end of the decade. Developing the next generation of biofuels and clean energy will help us achieve this goal, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil will help create millions of new jobs that can’t be outsourced.

Romney: An affordable, reliable supply of energy is crucial to America’s economic future. 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.  Taking full advantage of our energy resources will create millions of jobs, but this revolution in U.S. energy production will not just expand economic opportunity within the energy industry. Upstream businesses that supply the industry will experience a surge in demand, and perhaps the greatest benefit will occur downstream as agricultural businesses and manufacturers gain access to a more affordable and reliable supply of energy and feedstock. America’s energy resources can be a long-term competitive advantage for American agriculture, and their development is key to the success of the industry. 

Romney: We must pass fundamental tax reform that lowers tax rates, broadens the base, achieves revenue neutrality, and maintains the progressivity of the tax code.  This will help jumpstart an economic recovery that will help create 12 million jobs in my first term in office.  Regarding the estate tax and capital gains taxes, we must work to help all working families, including farmers and ranchers, keep more of what they earn.  As president, I will eliminate the estate tax, helping keep family farms and ranches intact when businesses pass on from one generation to the next.  I will also maintain the current 15% capital gains rate for wealthier Americans, while totally eliminating capital gains, dividend, and interest taxes for those who earn less than $200,000 per year.  This will help middle-class families save tax free for long-term costs like college tuition and retirement, and to generally enjoy the freedom that accompanies financial security.

Obama: I have put forward a balanced plan for deficit reduction that continues tax cuts for the middle- class, while asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their share. First, we must extend the middle class tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year.  In fact, my proposal extends tax cuts for 97 percent of all small business owners in America.  But at the same time, if we are going to reduce the deficit without sacrificing investments in our future like education, clean energy, and manufacturing, we can’t afford to continue tax breaks for the wealthiest.  These policies were unfair and unaffordable when they were passed, and they remain so today. Governor Romney would take the opposite approach – his tax plan would require an average tax increase of $2,000 on middle class families with kids, to pay for a new round of tax cuts for multi-millionaires, who would get an average break of $250,000.

Why should farmers and ranchers vote for you?
Romney:  “…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, read my white paper that lays out my vision for a vibrant rural America.  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 November 6th.”

Obama: (An answer to the question was not provided) –> Maybe that in itself should determine your vote!

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