US farm leaders have identified a number of priority issues that president-elect Barack Obama will have to get to grips with soon after taking office in January.
National Corn Growers’ Association president Bob Dickey identified renewable fuels, trade and Farm Bill implementation as three of the most important, though he said his association had already developed a strong working relationship with the new team in Washington.
“We have appreciated Senator 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,” he said.
In pre-election promises, Senator Obama indicated that he would be investing $150bn over the next 10 years in “green energy” and he had a target of 60bn gallons of fuel coming from biofuel by 2022. “I am a proud supporter of the Renewable Fuels Standard and tax incentives for biofuels,” he said.
He also supported the 2008 Farm Bill, including weather and revenue-related insurance programmes, traditional farm supports and disaster assistance.
Senator Obama also told the NCGA he wanted more access to overseas markets, both through multilateral and bilateral trade deals. “I support providing full funding to vital market promotion programmes,” he said.
The American Farm Bureau Federation also presented a list of issues for the new administration to address, including the economy, energy, immigration, trade and implementation of the Farm Bill.
“We know there are many points of view on these issues, but we also know our elected leaders have one thing in common: Each ran for office to improve this country,” said AFBP president Bob Stallman.
Senator Obama’s support for a farm safety net and biofuel production incentives bode well for farmers.
And with Democrats holding larger majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, “it eases the deadlock that has so often prevented Congress from getting things done, such as immigration reform”, said an AFBF statement.