|Stands up for Family Farmers by Voting to Limit Payments to $250,000 and Close Loopholes in the Farm Commodity Payment Program - Expresses Disappointment That Amendment Did Not Pass
Announcement Coincides With Tour of Iowa by New York Farmers & Rural Development Advocates
Hillary Clinton today reinforced her support for a set of policy initiatives that would strengthen family farms and rural communities. The announcement coincides with the a multi-city tour that began on Wednesday by New York state farmers and rural development advocates throughout Iowa to discuss Hillary Clinton's impressive record on issues important to farmers and their families. The New York delegation is expected to tour over 30 communities in the state and meet with their Iowa counterparts throughout the week. In related news, Hillary Clinton voted today to support the Dorgan-Grassley Amendment, which would have limited commodity payments to $250,000 per household. The amendment did not pass.
"I understand the challenges that farmers and their families face in Iowa. But I also know that with the right policies in place, our nation's farms can thrive and can help America solve pressing problems, like providing a safe and healthy food supply, producing renewable energy, and creating vibrant rural communities and jobs," said Clinton. "That is why I have made a strong commitment to supporting family farms. Today, I was proud to stand up for family farms by voting to limit commodity payments to $250,000 and was disappointed that it did not pass. As President, I will continue to promote an agenda that will help small farmers remain competitive in the face of a growing threat by corporate agriculture."
Hillary supports targeting our commodity payment programs so that family farms - not corporate farms - are the key beneficiaries. She has worked to close loopholes that disproportionately benefit wealthy corporate farmers and those who do not directly take part in the operations or management of their farms by eliminating the triple-entity rule, implementing direct attribution of payments. In addition, she believes that we should retain a strong safety net for producers; invest in ethanol and other biofuels; expand access to nutritious food for children; dedicate new resources to conservation; devote new funding to rural development programs that can create jobs and strengthen rural economies; and implement mandatory country of origin labeling.
"Hillary understands the importance of agriculture to our community, our culture, and our economy. She has been an effective advocate for rural Upstate New York and will continue working to preserve America's proud tradition of family farming as President of the United States," said Jim Schaben, Jr. of Dunlap, co-owner of the Dunlap Livestock Auction.
The Clinton campaign's tour of New York farmers and rural development advocates includes farmers like Maureen Torrey from Rochester, NY. Maureen is president of United Fresh Produce and grows specialty vegetable crops. The group also includes Tom Ferraro, a Republican who now supports Hillary. He helped create Foodlink, an urban/rural markets program, selling fresh local rural products in upstate New York cities. They are expected to visit the following communities: Adair, Albia, Ames, Anthon, Atlantic, Bedford, Bloomfield, Burlington, Carroll, Chariton, Council Bluffs, Creston, Denison, Des Moines, Dunlap, Earlham, Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Fort Madison, Ida Grove, Iowa City, Le Claire, Mason City, Mount Ayr, Osceola, Shenandoah, Sioux City, Walnut, Washington, Webster City, and Winterset.
"Hillary Clinton knows and understands the needs of farmers and small communities," said Ferraro. "I know her record in upstate New York and trust her to be our next President so that our farmers have an advocate in the White House."
SUPPORTING FAMILY FARMS
In the Senate, Hillary has made a strong commitment to supporting family farms. She has consistently promoted legislation and initiatives that will help small farmers remain competitive in the face of a growing threat by corporate agriculture and vertical integration that/to dominate agricultural markets. She has also promoted efforts to help farmers get healthy, fresh food directly into the hands of consumers.
- Targeting Payments Away from Corporate Agriculture and Towards Family Farmers - Hillary supports targeting our commodity payment programs so that family farms—not corporate farms—are the key beneficiaries. She favors closing loopholes that disproportionately benefit wealthy corporate farmers and those who do not directly take part in the operations or management of their farms by eliminating the triple-entity rule, implementing direct attribution of payments and putting an end to millionaires receiving crop payments. Hillary wants to set income caps to better direct commodity payments to those who work the land and depend on farm income. Today, she voted for the Dorgan-Grassley amendment to lower the cap on payments to $250,000 and close loopholes in the farm commodity payment program.
- Strengthening the Farm Bill - Hillary proudly supported the 2002 Farm Bill. She believes that as we develop the 2007 Farm Bill, we should retain a strong safety net for producers; invest in ethanol and other biofuels; expand access to nutritious food for children; dedicate new resources to conservation; devote new funding to rural development programs that can create jobs and strengthen rural economies; and implement mandatory country of origin labeling.
- Guaranteeing Country of Origin Labeling - Hillary has fought to make country-of-origin labeling (COOL) mandatory on fruit, vegetables, and meat in order to help consumers make better decisions about what to buy. COOL will empower customers and increase the purchases of produce and meat from the U.S. Hillary supports strengthening this provision in the 2007 Farm Bill.
- Tightening Controls on CAFOs - Hillary believes that we can strike a better balance between animal agriculture and protecting our environment and rural quality of life. She recognizes the hazards that CAFOs pose to health and the environment, and strongly supports local control over CAFO siting decisions. She also supports federal rules to control air and water pollution from corporate factory farms, and believes we should take steps to ensure that conservation funding reaches more family farms.
- Making Markets More Competitive - Vertical integration and concentration in agriculture have put producers at an unfair disadvantage in the marketplace. To address this problem, she has supported Senator Harkin in his efforts to include a strong competition title in the farm bill, and would vigorously enforce laws to ensure fair competition, as President.
- Helping Farmers When Disasters Hit - Senator Clinton understands that farmers and ranchers are highly susceptible to weather problems and she has consistently pushed for federal support for producers who need government assistance in the wake of weather related disasters, including droughts. She has advocated for disaster relief in the last three Congresses, and was successful in her efforts in 2004 and 2007, despite opposition from the Bush Administration. To address the problem of relief being unreliable, Hillary supports establishing a permanent disaster program to assure producers aid will be there when they need it most.
- Promoting Local Production and Distribution of Food - Senator Clinton has expanded markets for producers by developing a successful "Farm-to-Fork" initiative to link those who grow our food directly with those who process and serve it. By connecting farmers to schools and increasing direct-to-consumer marketing, Senator Clinton has improved the market for farmers and improved access to healthy, locally-produced food for consumers.
- Promoting Better Nutrition - In order to address the rise in obesity and diabetes in this country, Senator Clinton has worked to increase access to healthy food and nutritional services. Hillary's FOOD for a Healthy America Act expands federal nutrition programs and creates new grant programs to provide those in need with easy access to the healthy food. By improving food assistance programs, promoting better nutrition education, supporting farmers' markets and coming up with innovative ways to distribute food, we can better address the health impacts of poor nutrition and give producers more marketing outlets.
- Protecting Farmers From Unfair Trading Practices - Hillary has worked to level the playing field for producers and help farmers succeed in our global economy. She has opposed trade deals that were disadvantageous to America's farmers, such as the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the Korea Free Trade agreement, which insufficiently addressed the concerns of America's beef producers. She has said that we should reevaluate free trade deals every five years to ensure that they are still meeting our national and agricultural interests. She will appoint a trade ambassador that does not treat agriculture like a bargaining chip at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative and will ensure that enforcement is a priority again.
- Supporting Beginning, Minority and Women Farmers - Starting out in farming is difficult, and Hillary wants to ensure that beginning farmers and women and minorities have access to the same opportunities and tools as other farmers. To accomplish this goal, Hillary would increase access to credit and capital, develop a program to aid in the transition of operations, promote loan forgiveness for those who gain higher education in agriculture or business management, establish mentoring programs that link retiring farmers with beginning farmers, and ensure that all farmers have access to our vital commodity, conservation and value-added programs.
- Expanding Organic Production and Value-Added Opportunities - Senator Clinton is a strong advocate for expanding production and marketing of organic foods. As a Senator, Hillary has worked to provide more resources for transition assistance, research and marketing programs. As President, Hillary will also work to provide mandatory funding for value-added grants to help expand opportunities for farmers.
- Ensuring Food Safety - Senator Clinton is committed to ensuring a safe food supply. The Bush Administration has allowed our food safety situation to deteriorate and Hillary has a plan to repair this dysfunctional situation. She will create a single food safety agency, increase funds for inspection of imported food, and create a new system of preventive controls and standards of care that food processes have to follow.
PROMOTING RENEWABLE ENERGY
Hillary sees the problem of global warming as an opportunity for rural America. She strongly supports efforts to expand the use of biofuels and local ownership of renewable energy production and recognizes that by doing so, we will create more job opportunities for skilled workers. She sees this as a win-win for our rural communities, our nation, and the world.
- Create a Strategic Energy Fund - Hillary has proposed a Strategic Energy Fund that would inject $50 billion into research, development and deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency, ethanol and other homegrown biofuels. Hillary's proposal would give oil companies a choice: invest in renewable energy or pay into the fund. Hillary's proposal would also eliminate oil company tax breaks and make sure that oil companies pay their fair share for drilling on public lands. Instead of sending billions of dollars to the Middle East for their oil, Hillary's proposal will create a new clean energy industry in America.
- Speeding Biofuels Development - Hillary has supported Senate legislation to increase biofuels production to 36 billion gallons by 2022, including 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol. As part of her energy plan, Senator Clinton has proposed an additional increase in this biofuels production target to 60 billion gallons by 2030. In addition, Senator Clinton's energy plan extends tax credits for ethanol and biodiesel. Her plan also accelerates the development of cellulosic ethanol by investing $2 billion in cellulosic ethanol research, and providing loan guarantees for the two billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol capacity.
- Getting More Electricity from Wind and Other Renewables - Hillary believes we need to shift our reliance on high-carbon electricity sources to low-carbon electricity sources by investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. She has consistently supported renewable energy as a Senator, and her energy plan calls for a requirement that utilities generate 25 percent of their electricity from wind, solar and other renewables by 2025. To help achieve that goal, Senator Clinton's plan would make permanent the tax credit for producing electricity from renewable sources.
- Promoting solutions to environmental challenges - Hillary is a strong supporter of programs to conserve agricultural land, reduce pollution and slow urban sprawl, such as the Conservation Security Program (CSP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP). She believes we should target these programs to the producers who need them the most and the places where they provide the greatest environmental benefit. She also supports efforts to get farmers involved in the fight against global warming through carbon trading markets, like the partnerships between both the National Farmers Union and the Iowa Farm Bureau with the Chicago Climate Exchange.
PROMOTING RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND IMPROVING THE
QUALITY OF LIFE IN RURAL AMERICA
Hillary has been a champion for rural development since she came to the Senate. The first package of legislation she introduced after she was elected was developed to stimulate job growth and economic development in upstate New York. Seven years later, Hillary has successfully passed legislation to support regional skills alliances, which provide job training in rural communities; additional investments in entrepreneurs in rural communities made a national commitment to growing broadband nationwide; and introduced comprehensive legislation to promote economic development in rural America. She has also made it a priority to support initiatives to improve the health care, education, and infrastructure of rural America.
- Expanding Empowerment Zones to Revitalize Rural Communities - Hillary has been an adamant supporter of Empowerment Zones to help communities attract and retain businesses in areas of need. She would expand this successful program to more rural areas to help grow rural economies and create jobs. She would also issue tax-exempt rural enterprise community bonds. Together, these initiatives will help promote strong communities in rural America.
- Helping Small Businesses, and Creating Jobs - Hillary has introduced the Rural RISE Act to spur investment and job creation in rural America. This legislation would expand access to capital and strategic advice for rural entrepreneurs and small businesses, and bring together businesses, community colleges and four-year universities to ensure workers have the training needed to compete in the global economy. Hillary would also provide tax credits to small businesses that locate in rural counties. As Senator she has fostered the creation of small business cooperatives that have allowed these enterprises to market their products online, here at home and globally. Her Rural RISE Act also provides incentives and greater opportunities for those who wish to remain in, or move to, rural areas across the country.
- Broadband for All - Hillary has proposed a national initiative to bring broadband access to America's rural and underserved regions. She will ensure that we get broadband to rural Americans who don't have access now. She will strengthen tax incentives for extending broadband to underserved areas; support state and local broadband initiatives, from new wireless technologies to high-speed fiber optics. She will also get the rural utilities service to distribute the broadband funds more equitably and efficiently. Hillary will also create a new public private partnership, modeled on the successful ConnectKentucky program which has dramatically improved broadband access. The initiative has stimulated significant private investment and has increased the state's broadband coverage rate to over 90%.
- Improving Rural Health Care - Hillary has unveiled the American Health Choices Plan, a plan to provide affordable, high quality health care for all Americans. Hillary has also fought for proposals to recruit, retain and educate more nurses and health professionals in rural areas. Her plans to increase medical staff, improve our health information technology and make prescription drugs cheaper, will improve access to quality heath care in all parts of the country, especially rural America.
- Promoting Education - Hillary strongly supports initiatives to bring new teachers to rural communities. She championed legislation to provide income-based repayment programs to help people with low incomes better pay off their student loans. And she helped enact loan forgiveness for people who work in public service jobs, like teaching, for ten years. Hillary has also put forth a plan to rein in the cost of college and increase student aid. She also supports initiatives to expand distance learning opportunities and support community colleges and universities. Along with Senator Harkin, Hillary has fought for legislation to fund reconstruction of our crumbling schools. In addition, she has put forth a plan to provide universal pre-kindergarten.
- Access to Home Ownership - Hillary believes that people living in rural areas have the same dream of owning a home as all other Americans. She has proposed to make sure that rural people aren't exploited when they buy a home by: eliminating prepayment penalties on mortgage products; requiring mortgage lenders to include the cost of taxes and insurance in the underwriting assessment of higher-risk mortgages. restricting prepayment penalties for subprime mortgages; requiring "plain-talk, no-fine-print disclosure"; and more.
- Rural Infrastructure - Hillary will establish a $10 billion Emergency Repair Fund to ensure that critical infrastructure repairs are made. She will also provide $250 million in Emergency Assessments Grants to states to conduct immediate safety reviews of their high-priority, high-risk infrastructure assets and form a commission to carry out a comprehensive assessment of our engineering review standards so that we better prioritize needed repairs on bridges and roads.
- Promoting Telecommuting - Hillary will promote telecommuting by encouraging its use at federal agencies, and by committing up to $50 million per year to support state and local initiatives. This program will better enable people who want to live in rural areas to be do so while working remotely for the government or a private employer.
- Cracking Down on Methamphetamine and Rehabilitating Meth Labs - Hillary was a proud co-sponsor of the Combat Meth Act of 2005, which was signed into law on March 9, 2006. This law tightens restrictions on how pseudoephedrine is sold to ensure that it is not being trafficked, and provides resources for prevention, education, and treatment. Senator Clinton also supports creating a new program to rehabilitate former meth labs for use in other areas. Rehabilitating meth labs can cost up to $100,000 and requires skilled personnel. Hillary supports increased funding for this purpose.
- Aiding Sportsmen - Senator Clinton would establish a program to help states work in cooperation with owners and operators of privately-held farm, ranch, and forest land to increase access for hunting and fishing. Hillary also supports the Wetlands Reserve Program and other stewardship programs that focus on conserving land, water, and wildlife.