Agriculture Gets Attention from Presidential Candidates

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he would push for the completion of the farm bill. This comes from a 16-page paper on agricultural policy released Tuesday. The paper does not go into details on farm bill policies. But the Romney campaign says his vision for a vibrant rural America would include reasonable taxes, expanding access to international markets, rational regulation and energy independence.

On the farm bill - the paper accuses President Obama of failing to show leadership to get the House and Senate together. House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson responded to that attack. He called it unfair and said it shows a complete lack of understanding of what's going on - noting the problem isn't between the House and Senate but with the House leadership. Still - the Romney paper says farmers' peace of mind has been wiped away by a Congress stuck in gridlock and a president unwilling to show leadership on the issue. It goes on to say that Romney understands that leadership is not an option for a president - the job demands it and the American people deserve it. As president - the paper says Romney will ensure a strong farm bill is passed in a timely manner to give farmers and ranchers the certainty they need for their operations and their livelihoods.

The Obama campaign has responded with a document that compares the Romney and Obama positions and performance on issues affecting rural America. In a conference call with reporters - campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said Romney told a series of falsehoods about the President's plan for rural America. He said rural Americans know that the Romney-Ryan budget's cuts to agriculture would shred the farm safety net and undermine the economic security of rural America. He also suggested that Romney would protect Big Oil with taxpayer subsidies while gutting clean energy investments.

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