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Republican Platform May Challenge Traditional Programs

Listen Here: Profit Matters 7-20-16

by Ken Root and Whitney Flach

Sources in Washington and Cleveland say that agriculture received a substantial amount of attention, with the GOP writers blasting the Obama Administration’s over regulation of the farm and ranch community. They pointed especially to the Waters of the U.S. Rule that was to be implemented last August, but stopped by litigation since that initial day of implementation. 

That matches other statements by republican leaders in both houses that they would sharply curtail the actions of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Platform explained the GOP position on WOTUS by saying, “The EPA’s Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, issued jointly with the Army Corps of Engineers, is a travesty. It extends the government’s jurisdiction over navigable waters into the micro-management of puddles and ditches on farms, ranches, and other privately-held property. Ditches, dry creek beds, stock ponds, prairie potholes, and other non-navigable wet areas are already regulated by the states. WOTUS, is now subject to judicial review and must be invalidated, but that will not be sufficient. Unelected bureaucrats, must be stopped from furthering the Democratic Party’s political agenda through regulatory demands forced upon citizens and businesses beyond that which is required by law. We must never allow federal agencies to seize control of state waters, watersheds, or groundwater. State waters, watersheds, and groundwater must be the purview of the sovereign states.”

The GOP calls for dairy policy reform, saying “There is growing recognition that federal dairy policies, crafted during the Great Depression, are increasingly an impediment to the ability of our dairy producers to meet the expected doubling in global demand coming by 2030,”

As far as Crop Insurance, the Republican policy document offered a lukewarm endorsement of risk management programs “Farming and ranching remain high-risk endeavors, and they cannot be isolated from market forces. No segment of agriculture can expect treatment so favorable that it seriously disadvantages workers in other trades. Federal programs to assist farmers in managing risk must be as cost-effective as they are functional, offering tools that can improve producers’ ability to operate when times are tough while remaining affordable to the taxpayers.” 

The kicker is the Food and Nutrition Program administered by USDA. 
The platform suggests that it was a mistake, when Food Stamps legislation was first drafted, to have it administered by the Department of Agriculture. The GOP Platform says action is needed, “to correct a mistake and separate the administration of SNAP from the Department of Agriculture.”

This provision goes against the experience of Agricultural Leaders in Congress who have found, since 1964, that they cannot enact farm programs unless there is a food and nutrition component.

In the 2014 farm bill, it failed the House in its first attempt at passage because conservative republicans wanted to attach a work provision to the food stamp program or move it to states to administer. Eighty percent of the Farm Legislation budget is now food and nutrition programs.

Still, farm groups are coming out strongly for Donald Trump. An aggies-for-Trump effort was announced Wednesday at the Great American Farm Luncheon in Cleveland.