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February 14, 2013

Big Issues for Farmers and Ranchers in the State of the Union

For more information on Newsline, contact: Cyndie Sirekis, Director, News Services, American Farm Bureau Federation, cyndies@fb.org.

 
Whether you listened to the speech or not, the president’s State of the Union address laid out his priorities for the year ahead. Chances are there was something in there that will affect you. American Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Dale Moore tells what was in there of importance to agriculture. AFBF’s Johnna Miller has that story.
Miller:The president’s State of the Union speech is his chance to tell the American people what he hopes to get done in the year ahead. American Farm Bureau Director of Public Policy Dale Moore says there were some things in there that are very important to U.S. agriculture.
Moore:We were very pleased that he brought up immigration reform. Here’s an opportunity to address the ag labor needs which in many parts of the country a lot of times involve foreign workers. Addressing both the short-term and the long-term needs that farmers and ranchers have in assuring that they have a stable workforce and that those workers have a simple straightforward way to become part of that workforce is one of our top priorities.
Miller:Moore says it was also good to hear the president talk about moving forward with trade negotiations with the European Union.
Moore:There are many longstanding issues on Europe’s use of non-tariff trade barriers; in fact, they seem to have the ability to come up with new ones every other Tuesday. We’re looking forward to an opportunity to address some of those issues, to make sure that we have trading standards based on sound science as opposed to a “we think it could be bad so we’re not going to let it in” kind of approach.
Miller:More good news was hearing President Obama state his support of bioenergy.
Moore:Bioenergy is an important component of our energy independence and farmers and ranchers provide feedstock that can go into that. Grains are used in the production of fuels for automobiles, for trucks, for tractors as in ethanol and biodiesel. A lot of our farms and ranches provide wide open spaces that you can find wind farms or solar energy . That comes together providing yet another boost to the rural economy as well as the agricultural economy.
Miller:But Moore says there were some red flags in the speech…particularly when it comes to climate change.
Moore:The president seemed to be saying pretty clearly that since he can’t get Congress to move forward with legislation going after climate change kinds of issues, he’s going to do it by executive order. Our big concern is that a lot of our competitors around the world are just going to let the U.S. take all of these big steps and draconian measures that they’ve put on small business, including farmers and ranchers, to meet whatever climate change goals come up without any real scientific evidence that what we’re doing is going to make that big of a change.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
Miller:Newsline will be updated on Tuesday February 19th due to President’s day. Thank you for listening.

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