A letter to the next leader and their administration

CEO’s from the nation’s top farm organizations have reached out to both presidential campaigns with their concerns about agriculture.

Twenty-one commodity organizations and advocacy groups warn the farm economy is poor and deteriorating.

In a twelve page white paper to President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden, they say that trade retaliation, COVID-19, and trade barriers could cause an $18 billion dollar decline in net cash income this year, even with higher farm subsidies.

However, the paper does not stop at the challenges in farm country; it also outlines ten policy priorities and solutions for the next four years.

The group starts with the need for a COVID-19 vaccine and testing to protect farmers and food workers to ensure a steady supply chain and says that farm policy should include a strong safety net and risk management tools in the 2023 Farm Bill.

With trade retaliation and non-tariff barriers listed as challenges, they say that the administration should prioritize a functioning World Trade Organization and bilateral and multilateral trade agreements should have significant benefits for agriculture.

Climate change has been a key talking point on the campaign trail and farm groups want agriculture to use innovation, rather than regulations to improve sustainability.

They also say that supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard will continue to expand green energy while creating revenue for farmers.

Investing in modern road and port infrastructure is another priority to ensure farmers can get products to markets, as well as connecting every American to broadband so rural businesses can succeed.

They also call for addressing the labor shortage in agriculture by preparing an adequate American workforce and preserving and improving the H-2A visa program, and they want to see American agriculture continue to play a key role in feeding the world.

Finally, the group says that immediate and intensive innovation is needed to feed the estimated world population of 9 billion people by 2050; with just 30 harvests left, research shows agriculture will need to increase productivity by 50-70 percent.

The group calls on Congress and the incoming administration to work quickly and in a bipartisan way to address each of these issues over the next four years.

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