Where do John McCain and Barack Obama stand on agricultural issues?

October 2008

Dear Hilde,

I have been following the presidential debates pretty closely but haven't heard much about food or farming. Where do McCain and Obama stand on agricultural issues?

Thank you,

Carol Jenkins
Lincoln, NE

Dear Carol,

You're absolutely right! Mention of food and farm policy has certainly been limited if not absent in the recent debates. Often in presidential campaigns, farm issues are quietly swept under the rug once the Iowa caucuses are history. The logic, perhaps, that only Midwesterners care about farms, is obviously faulty – but I don't doubt there are many political strategists and advisors out there who rank economic bailouts and foreign dependence on oil as far sexier topics for garnering public attention and swaying more votes than farming and food. When it comes down to it, though, we don't have to farm to be concerned about farm policy. We all eat. We all depend on quality, fresh food for good nutrition and health; and on family farmers to steward our natural resource base and produce goods and jobs that support and stimulate our local economies and communities. With massive floods in the Midwest and two major hurricanes in the South devastating farmland and farm livelihoods this past summer, record-high production costs, volatility in grain and oilseed markets, and food and fuel prices soaring in the United States and abroad – supporting a viable, stable and sustainable farm base should be a clear component of any federal policy agenda, let alone presidential debate.

But is it?

While agricultural topics haven't been so popular on the stump, both McCain and Obama have rural positions posted on their websites. Figuring out how to whittle down these documents into some sort of organized comparison was admittedly daunting. On issues such as biofuels and the 2008 Farm Bill, the candidates' positions couldn't be clearer (and more polar!) On other issues, however, it felt a bit more like comparing apples to oranges (or kumquats for that matter), as the candidate's websites bring up different concerns altogether – highlighting their divergent views on the role of federal government in agriculture as well as the sort of farming future they envision for America.

To help you sort through the deluge of eye-blurring rhetoric, I decided it best to make a table comparing apples to apples. In addition to scouring the candidates' websites, I sifted through news articles and blogs from both sides of the political spectrum, contacted rural advocates in DC and the Midwest, and did my best to cut to the chase.

Before I proceed: a quick but important reminder that Farm Aid is a non-partisan organization. While we certainly have opinions about the sort of federal policies that are best suited to build and strengthen a vibrant network of family farmed agriculture in the United States, we in no way intend to tell anyone how to vote. We just want you to vote.

Back to those apples:

Farm Bill
  • Obama supported the 2008 Farm Bill for its increased funding for hunger and conservation programs, but admits it's far from perfect when it comes to subsidies.
  • McCain opposed the 2008 Farm Bill and called on President Bush to veto the bill.
Subsidies
  • Obama supports payment limitations on agricultural subsidies and wants measures to close loopholes that allow mega-farms to skirt the limits.
  • McCain wants to end the subsidy program altogether as he believes they distort markets
Agricultural Markets
  • Obama supports free trade with meaningful labor and environmental protections. He wants to crackdown on anti-trust violations and concentration to ensure competitive and fair markets for US family farmers.
  • McCain strongly favors free trade economics, and wants to open and expand foreign markets for American agricultural goods; he believes in reducing regulation of the markets.
Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)
  • Obama is pro-COOL – a federally mandated program that requires retailers to mark selected food products with country of origin information.
  • McCain is anti-COOL.
Biofuels
  • Obama supports using federal programs for furthering the development of biofuel technology.
  • McCain wants to eliminate renewable fuel mandates and federal support for ethanol production.
Disaster-relief
  • Obama supported new provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill for a permanent disaster assistance program so farmers don't have to wait for Congress to pass legislation in the wake of a disaster.
  • McCain supports market-driven approaches to risk management; while he states that the government should assist farmers in time of disaster, he has historically voted against disaster relief legislation.
Immigration
  • Obama favors immigration reform intended to address labor issues in agriculture.
  • McCain favors immigration reform intended to address labor issues in agriculture.
Agriculture and the Environment
  • Obama wants stricter measures in place to cut down on factory farm pollution. He also wants to increase incentives for farmers and private landowners to conduct sustainable agriculture and protect wetlands, grasslands and forests.
  • McCain states his support for environmental stewardship programs like the Conservation Reserve Program and Wetland Reserve Program, but doesn't mention any specifics.
Future of farming
  • Obama promises new policies to promote family farms and local and regional food systems, including programs that attract young people to agriculture and provide financial assistance in the transition to organic production.
  • McCain sees free trade and global food systems as the greatest opportunity for American farmers.

So, now that you have a basket full of fruit to consider, we leave the rest up to you!

Please exercise your democratic right and responsibility to vote by hitting the polls on November 4th; and for every other day of the year, take comfort in your power as consumers and citizens to vote with your forks, wallets and actions. After all, as democracy advocate and author Frances Moore Lappé puts it so beautifully: "Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in."

Until next time...
(When we'll have a new president-elect!)

Hilde


Now that you've got all this information, go take our poll: " Which presidential candidate do you think would be better for family farmers if elected? "


Your thoughtful comments are encouraged, but all comments are held for moderation to protect against spam. Farm Aid does not censor or refuse comments for content unless they are spam or a personal attack.



Comments:
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 7:19:02 AM 
Thanks for the info. Very helpful.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 7:28:47 AM 
Thank you for gathering and organizing all of this information! It is so encouraging that one of the presidential candidates wants to keep Americans growing our country's food - for the livelihood of American farmers, the safety of American consumers, and the health of the environment (in relation to global food transportation for one thing). Let's build up America through our food and farming!!!!!!!
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 7:32:52 AM 
Thanks that is a great break down.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 7:35:54 AM 
Good information. Do we know why Obama voted for the Farm Bill if he dislikes the subsidies?
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 7:56:53 AM 
It's like most things in D.C., some good, some bad points so he voted for the points he agreed with
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 7:58:10 AM 
Thank you for the info. Very clear and helpful!
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 8:02:53 AM 
Do we know if Obama cares about Joe the Farmer?
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 8:12:10 AM 
Great chart! I wish someone would do this with some of the other issues in this campaign
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 8:12:17 AM 
Coming from someone who is not going to vote for either of these candidates, I certainly wouldn't trust either to actually do anything meaningful for small family farms like mine. Both these men are globalists, and are more concerned with our image abroad than actually strengthening and celebrating who we are as hard working Americans. Family farms/farmers historically helped each other, and got each other through the tough times, now we all are willing to stand in line for government welfare, and don't even take the time to know our neighbors. These two certainly don't want to change that.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 8:31:01 AM 
Anonymous@11:25 AM
I believe that farming is very important to our everyday lives. I will be voting for the man that cares about it the most.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 8:50:15 AM 
I wish US citizens would realize the importance of family farming! The majority of us do not have access to food other than the local grocery stores. Everyone should consider this a serious matter of national security! If roads, bridges, or electric to the stores became a problem through natural disaster or worse terrorist activity - how would we eat? If we can't eat - it doesn't matter what is in your retirement accout. Farmers are the most unappreciated "security" that American citizens have!! They must be valued as it is the most noble and needed profession out there. Think people think. Quakertown VOTE!
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 8:56:50 AM 
I wish the National Animal Identification System had been one of the policy statements specifically asked of these candidates, but I am glad one of the candidates believes in reducing regulations.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 9:53:57 AM 
I would like to know why health and human services such as WIC and food stamps are tied to the farm bill. I believe they are two separate issues. As a former public health nurse, I have seen first hand the abuses of those programs. More detail should be given in regards to why McCain opposed the farm bill. It could likely be issues not even related to farming. My husband and I have an organic dairy farm. He is the third generation farm our land. He believes the more government is involved, the bigger mess they make.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 9:58:44 AM 
Obama understands that the future of farming is in local and regional food systems and small family farms. This is an issue of national security and
environmental stewardship. Decentralized production and distribution of food means more jobs everywhere throughout the nation! This does not exclude participation in global markets for those who produce specialty products. The health and well-being of our society can be wrapped up in two words: Buy local.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 10:14:40 AM 
Money is no longer the currency. Air and water and soil ar eh currencies of the future. We need to invest in our farmers.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 10:22:55 AM 
I think I know who the 4 individuals responsible for Farm Aid will vote for in this election.........the right person for these times.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 10:34:08 AM 
Thank you so much for this helpful information. As a certified Nutrition Educator it is my responsibility to educate my clients about all aspects of nutrition, especially about making wise decisions regarding food selection.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 10:39:33 AM 
Its amazing the views that they both have. but it truely helps more and more, this is such an important thing that needs to be taken more care of. thankfully one of these two men cares for these family farms, it good to see that.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 10:43:17 AM 
I hope Barack Obama follows the advice of Michael Pollan.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 10:44:30 AM 
I do not beleve in socialism and spreading the wealth. I have worked and saved all my life and I do not want to give my savings to someone who never worked or planned for their retirement. I will vote for the HERO here not someone who could listen to Rev. Wright for 20 years and subject his children to such garbage.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 11:26:27 AM 
Being the child of a small farmer I see and understand these delicate and vital issues all the time. I am completely reassured by this piece that I am making the right choice for America and my family. Thank you for the great article it was very informative.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 12:00:18 PM 
Hilde,

This is great! Thank you so much for putting it all together to make an easy comparison between the two. I think Obama will move things in the direction of increasing organic farming and putting factory farms out of business. And hopefully making our country less reliant on imported foods. We need to go back to growing all our own foods here in the U.S. - with NO MORE factory farms. I'm glad to see your non-partisan comparison, reassuring me I've made the right choice in voting for Obama.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 12:47:40 PM 
There should be no doubt that Mr. Obama is not only the best choice for the family farmer, but the best choice for all Americans. Thanks for your input.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 1:09:33 PM 
I have to say that it's insane that this issue has not been more covered.
The American Farmer has the most important job in the world.
No Farmers= No Food. If all else fails our economy gets to the point of another great depression we are going to rely on local farmers more than ever. It is the most basic neccesity of life! I think that John McCain's idea of getting rid of subsides is the best choice although I disagree on all of his other economic ideals. The subsidies create an unfair advantage to big agri-business at the average taxpayers expense. Talk about income re-distribution right from the start. The sad thing is FDR started this in the 30s to help strugling small farmers but the system got distorted and the money mostly went to the largest farms. Obama's $250K+ tax is bad for Mid sized family farms. The largest will find ways to get around it, they always do. There should be a farm exemption to the tax since food & with it the nations security are super important. It's too
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 1:14:06 PM 
I don't feel that either is worthy for the job, but me being democratic,I'll vote for Obama.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 4:12:34 PM 
I agree with a couple of the comments above. "The more government is involved, the bigger mess they make" and "I have worked and saved all my life and I do not want to give my savings to go to someone who never worked or planned for their retirement" I know that I buy as much as I can from our family farms here in the Yardley-Newtown area, but it does put a bigger dent in your wallet. If taxes go up...less money can go out and it will only affect those small businesses, the big ones downsize and find a way. And also being a nurse, as someone else has responded, I've seen the abuses and entitlement issues that are so rampant. More government involvment decreases the incentives that drive people to work hard and make a good honest living like our family farmers.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 4:24:57 PM 
Thanks for the useful information. If I can't vote for Willie, I'll take Obama!
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 4:38:15 PM 
Rose@roseskitchen.com
Thanks for the information. I am going to pass it on to my listeners on my food/music show in California. These issues have not been covered at any time that I have heard the candidates speak.
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 5:58:27 PM 
As a family farmer, here are some things to think about be4 voting:

1. Difficult to expand to take advantage of economies of scale that help me to compete. Prices for land keep going up as well as daily costs. Extending to much easy credit was a huge mistake last 8yrs. Land, housing, unrealistic fuel consumption, all out of control. Congress (the House), mostly Dems, are responsible for this.

2. My children might be able to build on what I have, but not sure how w/ "death tax" they will have to pay to keep property. This is part of why "factory farms" exist. "Factories" are cheaper and pass along the land without giving it up because kids can't afford to pay the taxes. Obama thinks that if you own land, you're "rich". Where did the expression "land poor" come from anyway? Land will continue selling to highest bidder.

3. We need cheaper fuel (oil, nuclear, clean coal, solar, wind) to help us operate. Bio fuel will only lead to strip farming the land of its nutrients l
Anonymous @ 10/23/2008 7:24:38 PM 
"none of the above"
All ya'll need to realize that during an election candidates say whatever they feel will gain them support. The democrats favor killing babies. On that issue alone I will not vote democratic. Look at what has happened with a democrat controlled congress. Is your life better than it ever has been? Do away with all subsidies! The government should not be in business to bail people out. Earn your living and put your hands to work and don't expect the government to "give" you anything. Get rid of welfare (a good program but highly abused), get rid of all the socialist programs. Earn your money by working! Some say work? Me work? Yeah, go get a job! Get off your fat a-- and get a job! Do something productive and WORK! The government doesn't owe you anything. "ask what YOU can do for your country"!
Anonymous @ 10/24/2008 6:50:50 AM 
Thanks for the information! I just wish there was a way to really see why or why not a senator voted for or against a bill. For example yes McCain may not have voted for a particular bill, but why? was there a coat tail incentative included with the bill that would have pass an entirely different issue he was against. We all know several bills don't just have 1 issue with is some special interest group generally has something attached that is so hideous the real issue gets voted down. Just remember this when deciding based on who voted for what.
Anonymous @ 10/24/2008 7:57:36 AM 
This information is incredible! Of course being in NYC you don't get this kind of information so openly and readily. I thank you for taking the time and effort of publicly providing this information.
Anonymous @ 10/24/2008 8:36:22 AM 
What about the other candidates? Does anyone know where Nader, Baldwin, Barr & McKinney stand on any of these issues? I'd really like to know.
Anonymous @ 10/24/2008 10:50:21 AM 
It is sad that something so basic to our existence, such as farming, can become so political. What is even sadder, is that so many people will waste their votes on the likes of Obama and McCain, instead of voting for real change by endorsing a third party. If you play with snakes, eventually you will be bitten. Obama and McCain are both snakes in the grass, McCain only slightly less "snakey" then Obama. Voting for the lesser of evils is still voting for evil.
Anonymous @ 10/24/2008 12:09:59 PM 
Thank you! I guess my vote is staying with Obama.

While McCain protects deadbeat, unlicensed plumbers who "dream" of making more than $250k a year some day, and his anxiety over a 3% tax increase when he does, at least Obama seems to want to help "Fred The Family Farmer" to an extent most DC Politicians don't.



Anonymous @ 10/24/2008 2:26:22 PM 
I was angered to hear recently that Obama is flying in ADM's jet.
Anonymous @ 10/24/2008 4:14:50 PM 
Thank you for your comparison. Farming issues should certainly be a bigger part of the national picture.

An earlier comment about "McCain protects deadbead, unlicensed plumbers...." is absolutely scarey. An American Citizen who works for a living with a trade/labor gets the opportunity to ask a question and in return he gets trashed and exploited in the media by the Democratic machine! Sounds like something the KGB would do. Makes me want to dash forward and ask a question. Spread the wealth to who??? Someone who came here for opportunity to get it handed to them instead of working for it the old fashioned way. "Fred the Farmer" will be the only person working since NoBama thinks the solution is to tax corporations higher. Why do you suppose all the jobs are going overseas?
Anonymous @ 10/25/2008 2:50:35 PM 
McCain is coming to Quakertown, Pa - Bucks county - full of family farmers - on Tuesday, Oct 28th Memorial Field. So everyone - lets ask him - WHAT CAN HE DO TO HELP US LOCAL FAMILY FARMERS??? SHOW UP - ASK HIM - It can't hurt.
Anonymous @ 10/25/2008 5:46:33 PM 
Where do these guys stand on the FDA Globalization Act 08? here is a link to the draft....http://energycommerce.house.gov/FDAGlobalAct-08/Dingel_60AXML.pdf

I think they are trying to protect the consumer - at the expense of us small farmers.

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone down in DC has a clue how important small - truely small - farms are to this country. They are how this country got its start and they are what can help keep it together.

Eden's Gardener
Anonymous @ 10/25/2008 5:55:05 PM 
If anyone thinks it is fair to work hard to make it to any income level that is higher than someone else's only to have the gov't take it via taxes and redidtribute it - you may want to look at how great things are in socialistic countries. There has been poverty since the beginning of time and it will always be with us - sometimes it is deserved due to laziness and other times it is a result of hard luck. In either case, it should be up to private entities to help when and where they choose. Some will house the homeless others will help those who find themselves unemployed or in a bind suddenly. Parishes across the nation, family and friends are supposed to be united - not selfish - and help each other as they are able - not rely on the government to do it for you. Not to mention that the Democratic candidate has no regard for babies, even after they are partially born - who could in good conscience vote for him? Please. Vote less governement, life and the American Way!
Anonymous @ 10/26/2008 6:04:34 AM 
Once upon a time, there was a young charismatic and eloquent young leader who decided his Nation needed a change and that he was the one to implement it. The people were receptive and ready for a change. He spoke passionately when denouncing the existing system and the media loved him. Nobody questioned what he believed in or who his friends were. He would help the poor and bring free medical care and education to all. He would bring justice and equality. He said: I am for hope and change and I will bring you both. Nobody bothered to ask about the change, so by the time the executioners' guns went silent; all personal firearms had been confiscated. When everyone was finally equal, they were equally poor, hungry and miserable. Their free education was worthless. When the change was fully implemented, the country had been reduced to a Third World status. More than a million people fled in small boats and rafts. The charismatic young leader was Fidel Castro.

Anonymous @ 10/26/2008 6:06:24 AM 
During this election year let's be reminded of these words:
* You cannot help the poor, by destroying the rich.
* You cannot strengthen the weak, by weakening the strong.
* You cannot bring about prosperity, by discouraging thrift.
* You cannot lift the wage earner up, by pulling the wage payer down.
* You cannot further the brotherhood of man, by inciting class hatred.
* You cannot build character and courage, by taking away men's initiative and independence.
* You cannot help men permanently, by doing for them what they could and should, do for themselves.
---Abaham Lincoln


Anonymous @ 10/26/2008 6:39:28 PM 
Wow, that makes it very clear that Barack Hussein Obama wants the government to provide the means and the ends to the people instead of letting the people provide for themselves. Sounds like beginnings of Communist Russia all over again. Thanks for the details! I'm voting to keep my freedoms... my freedoms to farm my land and sell to my customers according to what I want to grow and what they want to buy... that's called free market economy.

And Amen to "Vote less government, life and the American Way!"! I second that! Do I hear a third?
Anonymous @ 10/26/2008 6:50:04 PM 
Someone asked why these guys voted the way they did.
If you really want to know what the candidates have to say, read the transcripts from Congress at www.govtrack.us

Here is Barack Obama's page: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/person.xpd?id=400629

Here is John McCain's page: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/person.xpd?id=300071

Find out for yourself how often they missed votes, see what they voted for and against, read the bills and read what they had to say about the bills in their own speeches. They also list the bills that each Congress person sponsored.

This is a great resource. Find out what has been going on that they don't tell you about in their Presidential campaigns!!!
Anonymous @ 10/27/2008 9:16:22 AM 
All of you people calling Barack Obama names like "Socialist" and "Communist" are looking kind of desperate to me. A couple of weeks ago, he was a "terrorist". Then he was a "secret muslim". What are you going to call him next? A "Nazi"? Meanwhile, McCain and his lobbyist friends are hoping to keep things just the way they've been for the last 8 years. I've voted Republican most times in the past. I'm not doing it this year. You know, I don't like scare tactics. They don't work with me. In fact, they just piss me off and make me dislike the people who are trying to scare me. That only gives me one more reason to stay with Barack Obama. Whether some of you like it or not.
Anonymous @ 10/27/2008 12:54:18 PM 
I believe in a free market economy
Anonymous @ 10/27/2008 3:17:10 PM 
Barack "Barry" Obama = Fidel Castro
Anonymous @ 10/27/2008 3:43:55 PM 
Barack Obama scares me. I am scared what this man can do with his "connections". I don't like he went to a radical church and now under the political fire he says he didn't believe what his church taught. Give me a break. Liar liar pants on fire.
Anonymous @ 10/27/2008 4:54:15 PM 
Socialism is terrorism.
Anonymous @ 10/27/2008 9:58:01 PM 
I know those that are for the O man sort of see him as their god or savior>He's not MY God nor Savior. It's true that he has people following/gathering at the river banks listening to him. I do believe it's how he sees himself. If you think he can feed the people with out raising taxes or a hoe, well he won't. I don't think he ever has/will work as a farm family. So if you feel he will break up/end industry farming guess again. What does he care! However he does care about what he can control. He has spent more money than any past elections have. Is that money well spent! Especially from a write about self authoring vote present part time Senator who has planted a few Acorn trees with plans to plant more. Now that is farming! You deserve to be President, sorry about not be able to pick bill ayers as VP. Meanwhile back on the farm> I think Mr. O must have forgotten about those bills. His rude talk, [no cheering now] easy spending to be the me I am who ever that is future leader. JPV-h
Anonymous @ 10/28/2008 7:44:48 AM 
Sure hope McCain's visit in PA today gets uploaded for us all....
and
Thanks y'all!
Anonymous @ 10/28/2008 10:42:24 AM 
It's too bad Farm Aid didn't include ALL the presidential candidates -there are more than two! And the best candidate of them all wasn't even mentioned here. VOTERS: If you believe Obama or McCain are different from one another, or that either is the answer to any of our current problems, or that they won't both lead the U.S.A. to answer to a world government, then you're just one of the sheeple. wake up.
Anonymous @ 10/29/2008 7:55:55 AM 
The only farms Obama is for are the large "state cooperative" farms seen in places like the old East Germany, and other marxist countries. No thank you. I will cast my vote for less government, not more....however, this disqualifies McCain as well. Looks like the Constitution Party for me.
Anonymous @ 10/29/2008 1:22:41 PM 
Be American... Lets not bash each party. Just tell it the way it is, folks. John McCain is the only choice for the American Farmer. Take a ride through the countryside. "McCain - Palin" is the only sign when you drive through RURAL PENNSYLVANIA. John McCain is a patriot... he supports the 2nd Amendment... and with that being said, supports us life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness. The American Farmer is a man of his word... a hard worker... truly passionate & happy at his job, and a salt of the Earth man. Can you see McCain or Obama up on your tractor parked outside in the barn? How about giving you a hand in the barn twice a day everyday -for the dairy farms? I'm getting the vision of McCain with his knee high boots and flannel shirt. Every farmer, like myself, is in a SMALL BUSINESS. John McCain is an excellent supporter of the Small Businesses in America. Regardless of who becomes the next president... let by-gones be by-gones and hope that he will help the FAMILY FARMER. Let
Anonymous @ 10/29/2008 8:28:32 PM 
It is a shame that it is so difficult to to sort through the candidates positions and feel confident that we can vote for the truth. I appreciate your willingness to attempt to do this on these issues. I want to thank all the small and family farmers for the important contribution they make to all of us. If you pray, please pray for peace and compassion for each person on this planet~we all need and want it. I just saw Neil Young sing at his annual benefit concert and this is what he sings about for all of us.
Anonymous @ 10/30/2008 12:14:36 PM 
Has anyone considered the dangers of factory farming on environmental issues, consider what expanding factory farms would do to us- it would be horrible. Just google factory farm pollution, if you don't already know. McCain would be a disaster to our nation.
Anonymous @ 10/30/2008 3:54:15 PM 
"McCain would be a disaster to our nation" McCain is and would be a hero for all Americans to look up too. What has Obama done? Anything? He aligns himself with very bad people and then says he doesn't agree with them. You need to rethink your logic. Voting for Obama is voting for a radical baby killer.
Anonymous @ 10/31/2008 5:29:14 AM 
Yeah right Obama believes in farming ......his socialism will have us working on communes like the Chi-Comms.
Anonymous @ 10/31/2008 7:18:57 PM 
I think the fact that Obama turned down big corporate money shows that he won't bend to big corporate agriculture - he'll care more about the family farmer than McCain.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 8:21:20 AM 
Less government involvement is needed, not more. Entitlement programs stemming all the way back to farm subsidies need to be repealed, probably all together, if not scaled way down to include a way to wean people off the bottle of public cash. I think McCain is the only one who will actually work to do that out of the 2 candidates with a shot at the office. One day, we'll actually get someone from another party in there - for now, it may be the lesser of 2 not so great and based on the dems stand on many things, I can't in good conscience vote Dem. Being a conservative tree lover isn't easy, but that is what I am.

Whatever happened to working for a living? There are so many generations of people who just expect hand outs - that is just not right! No wonder everyone wants to live in America. The proud support the lazy!
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 8:31:38 AM 
Wow, some of you really beleive everything you hear from the Republican scare machine. There is only one choice for farmers and those of us that read. Turn off Fox News and do the right thing. The above non-partisan facts are clear.....Farmers for Obama
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 8:35:41 AM 
McCain doesn't seem to give a damn for the common family farmer, he's a rich man who panders to his wealthy lobbyists only. Obama is the only choice in this election!
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 8:42:20 AM 
Communism will never be pro economy, much less pro family farms. Hillary looks like a saint right now!!!
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 9:08:27 AM 
Well! After reading all these thoughtful and enlightening posts I am just so dar glad we don't have one of them Communists or Socialists runnin' for President! But I'll just betcha there's a buncha fascists out there in voter land. All that stuff about Obama....WOW! And McCain, with his KKK associations and being the keynote speaker for Acorn and his acts of treason while he was at the Hanoi Hilton.....what's a voter to do?
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 9:25:40 AM 
if it the economy you are worried about.farmers earn more than $120,000 a year are you prepared under obama to pay more taxes, then if we are hit with another 911 and Obama bin biden does nothing like Bill clinton did with the USS cole (oh wait he did after the fact and effected nothing) waste your vote.because after 911 the economy went down hill. everything shut down. remember that? so if you vote for Obama, and you are worried about the economy. we have no economy if we face terrorist attacks here in our great nation. security first. already mr. obama has been lying and also has an Aunt living here illegally. huh. are we that stupid a nation to beleive his lies he is going to help the common american. i think not. this is why the terrorist and all the middle East nations are watching this election. dont think that we will be safe under an obama office. American should stop being selfish and start looking at the big picture. yes the economy is bad, but i know it will get worse with
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 9:35:14 AM 
If God is watching us, good will triumph and what a great country this will be again!! We all have hope for the better.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 9:42:06 AM 
I somehow already knew it would read like this, but thank you for the information. It will give me some material to share with the undecides and others so that they may pass it on.

Anonymouse above, I am very proud and I do not support the lazy. Organic Farmers are not lazy, they have to work doubly hard to rid of pesticides and fight the manufactured farmers who are the ones who are getting support by hard working middle class persons who pay a larger percentage in taxes than the wealthy. I am not quite sure where your information comes from, perhaps TV commercials?
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 9:43:07 AM 
McCain/Palin... if obama spreads the wealth no one will be buying from local farmers. we get hit with a terrorist attack, no one will be buying from the local farmer. John McCain will make use of Corn for energy. that will help the farmer. if Obama gets in i will not be spending money. will plant my own garden and not buy from my local farmer. anyone can grow plants and veggies. remember that... as well as raise animals. McCain /Palin is the ticket to growth.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 10:26:44 AM 
This seems to be as slanted as the rest of the media. But, let's not forget, we need to worry about who is in Congress, as much as who is in the White House. I am sure both have voted against some bills that seem to be good on the surface, but, have a bunch of crap they don't want to support in the body of the bill (oh, but, Obama votes present more than a real vote) that the press isn't telling us about, so the vote is no. I have not read the farm bill so I don't know what other crap was shoved in there that had NOTHING to do with farmers or farming. The choices we were given suck, pure and simple. The black communist or the white war monger.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 10:26:54 AM 
Vote Family Farmer, Vote Obama!!
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 10:40:18 AM 
ummm, when exactly did Obama turn down corporate money? Answer - NEVER
I swear, if you put a list on the interent that says 2 1 6 4 8 3.... is the way we count up to 10 in America, there will be fools that believe it. or in this case post as a biased comparison, and they fall for it. Farm Aid itself was a wonderful concept at one time.. Shame on you sheep
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 10:58:51 AM 
The bigger government gets, the more small family farms are in trouble. This Joe the farmer is voting with Joe the Plumber! I just went to a Sarah Palin Rally and she said that she and McCain would support those of us who grow our food. I believe her. She only talks out of one side of her mouth. ;) If Obama wins, the country loses. :(
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 11:25:55 AM 
It's sad the majority of the entertainment industry doesn't see Obama for who he really is. If Obama wins, America is going to get what they "deserve". I support Farm-Aid but will not be voting for the obvious Farm-Aid presidential candidate choice. This election season has made me think twice about the entertainers I pay to see in concerts. Wake up America...before it's too late!!! USA will turn into a country like our ancestors left theirs for. Farmers for McCain/Palin
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 12:37:27 PM 
Hilde, Excellent job! I wish someday a candidate to the presidency of ANY country in the world understands that food and farming go together and that she/he has the courage to talk about farming and food sovereignty as the number one priority for her/his policies, because "el pueblo con hambre no piensa"... "hungry people don't think".
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 12:44:03 PM 
After living in Hawaii for over 20 years we became friends with Neil, Peggy, Ben, Amber and Willie. I do not believe they would vote for Obama. If Farm Aid supports this communist, we are no longer members or supporters of Farm Aid. You may get change but your not going to like it. You had better think long and hard before you vote or you will be sorry.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 12:57:06 PM 
the comments of these numerous right wingers show themsleves for what they really are: purveyors of hatred. I doubt any of them have spent a day in the field on a John Deere tractor. I've farmed for most of my 52 years, so did my daddy and his father before him. Our 700 acre farm is very productive, and I'm proud of that fact. We manage to not pay too much income taxes, due to the high costs of production. However, the property taxes run around 15 thousand a year. We had to enter a 10 year agricultural use covenant to get them down; but we cannot do a thing with it but farm. So, we'll keep farming. And by the way, we all voted for Obama three weeks ago!
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 1:12:06 PM 
Government has no business regulating and subsidizing our farms. Their interference has been the downfall of so many small, family farms and it is heartbreaking how many have lost their farms thanks to their control. We need less regulations and each farmer should be permitted to grow the crops they choose, not what the government insists on for subsidies. Give the USA back their small farms with independence from Government intrusion.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 2:41:29 PM 
I find it sad that this country is in trouble any one who gets in. farmers want obama, and small businesses want McCain. its a no win for both sides or is it. i truly believe Obama is not the right choice. yeah he is for the farmer. or is he. he keeps changing his ideas and his words and its just hard to beleive him in what he is saying. also no one likes war, but do we want terrorists to attack us here without a strong president? at least Mr. McCain has the experience. its a hard choice but i have desided on McCain/Palin this time around.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 2:43:58 PM 
As a Republican woman voter this election has been remarkably difficult - do I vote party (I do like McCain) but deplore his selection of a mindless, flibberty gibbit Palin. Or do I vote my conscious for someone with financial acumen and an open mind (I dare say that many of the folks who link him to Marxism or Socialism or even both at the same time no less, do not have a clue what the political philosophies really are or their tenets). This blog has helped to clarify one of the least discussed yet critical topical areas and finally - has helped me make up my mind. Thank you - Best Regards J. Anderson
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 2:57:03 PM 
HI, my uncle was a small business plumber who was a millionaire. he worked hard and built the business by working with small businesses, and grocery stores etc. its sad to see people knock the small buisness owner or Joe the plumber.we all have dreams and only one person can help us live our dreams. yes the farming bill did not pass, but McCain is not Bush. are you the farmer in another state. do you want to be compared? generations of families were poorer than the local farmer.I am richer than grandpa and poppa. yeah farming is hard work but they didnt have a farm bill or complain about the economy,they just did what had to be done. the lesser of the two evils has to be McCain.would of like Guilliani or huckabee,liberman,but we only have 2 choices..
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 4:02:40 PM 
As an Organic Farmer, I understand the great need for sustainable agriculture and feeding the world.
Vote Obama! He has the knowledge to protect the land, support the farmer's and resolve issues of world hunger.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 5:27:14 PM 
As a person whose family has owned a farm in upstate NY I have not seen any candidate do anything for the upstate economy. The only change that this "blue" state has seen is for the worst.Upstate NY has been declining since the 1960's. You would think that these progressive politicians would have solved all the problems and made upstate the place to be. With higher taxes and fuel costs it gets harder to survive. Promising change is a cruel joke when it never happens.You can bet that in 4 years the same problems will still be there.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 5:28:36 PM 
Vote for McCain = vote for the end of the family farmer. simple. McCain/Palin, clearly spread lies daily.. hourly. Obama had plenty of chances to spread the smear as well but chose the high road... don't forget the Keating 5... this had huge impact on our economy. McCain's smears only show desparation and also shows they can't win alone on the issues like helping the family farmer, simply because he can't and won't. McCain No good for farmers, no good for this country!
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 6:02:53 PM 
I'm glad I wasn't the first to respond. If you go thru that chart with an open mind, are truly for the survival of the family farm that looks at sustainability as the only answer then Obama has it hands down. As for our ancestors and the countries they left, read your history. We are currently closer to what our forefathers left behind than what they created. Study our need for religious freedom 400 years ago and look at what the religious right is demanding and how they've taken control of the republican/conservative party. We make these mistakes because we don't learn from our mistakes. Farmers were a pretty successful bunch, even during the depression. Why?? Read and take heed. Talk radio is not the answer. Don't forget to vote.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 6:12:21 PM 
i will not support Obama and I have a hard time reading the propaganda that Farm Aid places on their website. Apparently, Farm Aid is a bunch of communists and in need of great big penile implant.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 7:26:46 PM 
It's sad to see all the hatemongering this election has stirred up in your hearts. Take the issues without the emotional baggage and vote for the person you feel would best support the agricultural issues you believe in. After all these entertainers have done for the farmer through Farm-Aid, to criticize them because of who they will vote for is anti-American and like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 8:04:29 PM 
In second grade I voted for Adelaid Stevenson. He would make a good dad, is how I saw it. Standing alone I was surely tempted to run to the Eisenhower side of the room, but thought about how bad Mr. Stevenson would feel if no one voted for him. Then the teacher came and stood by me. Whew. In all these years I've never found myself second guessing myself on election eve. But here I am, looking up this, checking on that. It's been a very confusing campaign. Peace.
Anonymous @ 11/3/2008 8:22:27 PM 
My first exposure to Barak Obama was at Farm Aid in 2005 in Chicago, and I became a believer immediately. The Farm Bill is imperfect, but it seems like the good outways bad, and 'perfect legislation' will likely never be made. It seems to me that Barak supports the 'family farm' first, and McCain supports 'factory farms' above all. Makes the decision pretty cut and dry for me...
Anonymous @ 11/4/2008 6:17:25 AM 
Remember that the entire country was swept up with Hitlers popularity and promises of change. I do believe if history serves me well, there was a little change there.
Anonymous @ 11/4/2008 9:48:43 AM 
If we are truly American’s we all should do are best and VOTE. Today is the day but this posting might be after the fact. So in case it is to late to change what has happen. Now we will have to learn to live with it. Sorry to say Mr.McCain could not see it in himself to trash Obama. Things that most people would have from the start. EVERYTHING POINTS IN HIS WAY. The O-man might be just a few months from being our boss. I find this hard to believe because HE had no real time at any one thing. His picture, his name was over everything including the well slanted media, except Fox! They did their best to show US part of the USA , a well versed program with true facts. Now just thing if we as people had the media on our side like O-man did there would be a push to Keep America Whole. Farmers would be able to sell our own products and at least we all would get some true nourishment out of TV adds and not just boloney. I’msuremy limitedspace isup BYE jp
Anonymous @ 11/4/2008 10:54:03 AM 
How is Obama a SOCIALIST? If you are stupid enough to believe this line of bull you deserve 4 MORE YEARS OF BULL. McCain is BUSH #3 following the other two Bush's that have made rich richer and will put hard working farmers out of work. Vote for what you want, just don't bitch after you get it. :)
Anonymous @ 11/4/2008 11:02:43 AM 
Subsidies are plain and simply for large operations in this day and age. I have been in agriculture my entire life and have also worked in the wholesale food distribution biz.-we have to have free trade to survive. America-as strong as it is-cannot produce everthing we need to survive. Obama is not for the family farm-if you think that you are kidding yourself and endangering our future. Voting for subsidies and the farm bill does not make you "for the family farm"-it just means that the right lobbyist got to him. McCain has shown character by standing up against wasteful spending and focusing those resources where they are needed-regardless of what it makes him look like on charts such as this one.
Anonymous @ 11/7/2008 7:39:01 AM 
Stop importing foods we can grow right here in the US. Stop subsidizing large, industrial farm operations and let the American farmer get back to growing food for the US. Why do we import foods from China when we can grow them here? Why do we pay farmers to not grow foods? Does anyone in our govt' have plain 'ole common sense?
Anonymous @ 11/7/2008 10:29:18 PM 
tina leach, I THINK THE ISSUE OF THE CROPS THAT ARE GROWN AND THe CATTLE THAT ARE RAISED, IS ONE BIG ISSUE THE FDA, LOOK WHAT IS ADDED AND IS ALLOWED AND IT SHOULD NOT CHEMICALS ANTI BOITICS< THINGS THAT CAUSE CANCERS, AND OTHER SICKNESS, THE RED DYES THEY PUT TO LOOK As WE ARe BUYINY FRESH MEAT, PERSERTIVES, THE GOVERMENT AND OTHERS FDA KNOW AND WONT EAT IT,AND MAKING OUR KIDS SICK, NO WONDRe THERE ARe ADD FOOD ALERIGIES< SORE BOUGHT EGGs MILK ECT I BELIVe PRESIDENT OBAMA WILL MAKE A CHANGE ON ThE FAMILY FARM. I THINK PEOPLE ARe LAZY WE ALL NEED TO PUT OUR HANDS IN THE SOIL AND GROW CROPS IT HAS DECLINED DRaMATICALLY. PURE LAZYNESS ALL THe TIME THEIR ARe SOME KIND OF NEW SICKNESS WOW HOW TERRIBLE WE NEED TO BE MORE CONCERNED, OUR WATER THE WHOLE OF LIFE IN IT SELF IS A DANGER...we all need to have voice is what it takes...........
Anonymous @ 11/7/2008 11:34:24 PM 
WE NEEd to TEACH OUR CHIDREN TO GET INVOLVED> AND SHOW THEM HOW TO PUT THE HOURS THEY SPEND PLAYING XBOX GAMES AND TV WIWI GAMES AND PUT THEM HOURS IN ThE SOIL, PLANTING HEY THEY NEED TO LEARN KIDS NOW ARe INTO ALL THE WRONG NO FUTURE FOR THEM! WE LOVE THEM AND WE NEED TO TEACH THEM.PROPER AND THE QUALITY OF LIFE. HOW IMPORTANT IT IS We NEEd A HEALTHY ENVIROMENT... LOOK AT SOME ALOT OF THE KIDS NOW THEIR INto DRUGS. TEENS KIDS HAVING BABIES OR A SOME KIND OF IDOL THEY FOLLOW IN THE FLESH WORLD NO GOOD!!!! WE NEED TO BE GOOD EXAMPLES SOME ARE NOT!!! PUT A SHOVEL AND A HOE IN THEIR HAND AND THEY MIGHT KEEP A JUG AND A DRUG OUT OF THEIR HAND. A SHAME!!!!!!!!
Anonymous @ 11/7/2008 11:59:04 PM 
EARTH DAY SHOULD BE EVERY DAY! WILLIE IZ A WOUNDERFUL EXAMPLE WHEN HE STARTED FARMAID. IM HAPPY TO HAVE PRESIDENT WILLIE NELSON AND IM HAppy PRESIDENT OBAMA WON NOW We HAVE 2 GREAT PRESIDENTs and lots of great vice presidents GO NEIL JOHN DAVID ALL MAN THEIR SOULFULLY NOURISHING..........................................!!!!!!!!!!!! GO OBAMA YUR GREAT TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Anonymous @ 11/8/2008 12:41:47 AM 
MONEY KILLS! WAR KILLS MONEY! IZ ABOUT MONEY! NO WAR! LIVES TAKEN OVEr MONEY WARS! CANT EAT! CANT PLANT! NO MORE! BUSH YOUR OUT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU EAT!!! ONE DAY YOUR GONNA HAVE A DIRT FEAST PARTY! OBAMA IZ GONNA END THIS!!!! INOCENT PEOPLE FOR YOUR YOU AND YOUR INHUMAN ACTS OF GREEd.... SMITE AND EAT THE DUST! BUSH, BUSH AND BUSH, THIS IS TRUTH ...... T.L
Anonymous @ 12/28/2008 2:34:23 PM 
Keep in mind that Obama's wonderful sounding Enviromental bills and Biofuel mandates may be in fact what finally pushes the family farm into the abyss: 1. Small farms may not have the $ to "Comply" with the new environmental laws. 2. Large farms which do have the money and political connections will receive tax breaks which smaller farms will not receive. If you want to know which candidate is really out to protect America, her Farms, and her families, google Ron Paul. What other candidate introduced a bill protecting our right to raw milk? Paul/Kucinch 2012! A Non-fan of Obama in Santa Cruz, CA

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