The political power of food

Published 10:00 pm Monday, November 14, 2016

It’s been an emotional week since Nov. 8, Election Day. When we exercise our right to vote, we are exhibiting hope for a unified, stronger nation. For months leading up to Election Day and painfully so since then, we have behaved much more like a nation deeply and painfully divided. 

I’ve always believed that agriculture can be a point of finding common ground and economic and social progress. That it can be a source of shared strength in times of uncertainty. And so now, we can turn to agriculture again, to reach out to our newly elected leaders and shed even more light on how much is at stake in rural America today.

For instance, our new Farm Bill that is on the horizon. It is a vehicle for us to use that can help us all step up in a big way to continue to build on the truth that we are all one in our needs as a human race and that we each, every man, woman, child of every national origin and faith, share in unequivocal equal rights to live freely and safely, well nourished and well educated, with boundless opportunity opened freely for all.

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I find it fascinating that, in my opinion, we have this farm bill that will allow us, through steadfast vigilance, to continue to make record accomplishments on behalf of the American people who live in rural America — record accomplishments in community life and the lives of individual families while providing new opportunities for creating jobs across the land.

Our Farm Bill, also known at the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill, is an act of Congress that authorized nutrition and agriculture programs in the United States for the years of 2014-2018.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 is important legislation that provides authorization for services and programs that impact every American and millions of people around the world. The new Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer.

It will enable USDA to further expand markets for agricultural products at home and abroad, strengthen conservation efforts, create new opportunities for local and regional food systems and grow the bio-based economy. It will provide a dependable safety net for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. It will maintain important agricultural research, and ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all Americans.

As we prepare for a new administration and its ripple effects across our country, we need strong voices from rural America to help protect farm communities. Let’s continue to build and support policies that protect the farm laborer, the small and medium sized business owners, the labeling of our food and the protection of our land and of our water. Let’s continue to exercise our vote in our support and in our concerns for a stronger, more sustainable rural America, and in turn become familiar with a most powerful voice that never stops communicating with the top.