Local Matters

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November 9, 2008 - 10:28am

Obama's Plan for Rural America, and our food supply

posted by Howard B. Owens in Barack Obama, farms, agriculture.

The blog Ethicurean, a site dedicated to healthy, locally produced food, put together a post about President-Elect Barack Obama's farm and food policies as detailed during his campaign.

Since Genesee County is a rural farming community, it is probably useful to look at some of the key issues raised by Obama in his speeches and policy statements.

Here's the key point of the post:

So what might we expect from an Obama administration when it comes to food policy? Maybe quite a bit. In his plan for rural America, he lays out a number of policy positions that are a departure from the status quo. Obama:

  • Supports subsidies as a safety net, but calls for a $250,000 payment limitation and closing of loopholes, so that the program supports family farmers, not corporate agribusiness.
  • Supports regulation of CAFOs (factory livestock operations).
  • Wants to enforce anti-trust laws that so that smaller farmers can compete against large-scale meatpackers.
  • Wants to cap the size of agricultural businesses that can receive government funds for environmental cleanup so that taxpayers don’t subsidize cleanup for large, polluting corporations.
  • Supports Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for meat, a critical issue as we learn how widespread melamine contamination of animal feed is in countries like China.
  • Wants to increase support for organic agriculture and local food systems by helping farmers with organic certification/compliance costs.
  • Wants to provide incentives to encourage and support new farmers, land conservation, renewable energy on the farm, and microenterprise for farmers and other rural Americans.
  • Calls for greater food safety surveillance and communications.
  • Plans to encourage local foods in schools.
  • Supports providing farmers with incentives that will prevent agricultural runoff.

From his campaign web site, here is Obama's Plan for Rural America.

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