President-elect Barack Obama’s website, www.change.gov, gives an indication what some of the agricultural priorities will be for the new administration. The items listed on the website are to “help family famers and rural small businesses find profitability in the marketplace and success in the global economy.”
- Strong safety net for family farmers: Fight for farm programs that provide family farmers with stability and predictability. Implement a $250,000 payment limitation so we help family farmers – not large corporate agribusiness. Close the loopholes that allow mega farms to get around payment limits.
- Prevent anticompetitive behavior against family farms: Pass a packer ban. When meatpackers own livestock they can manipulate prices and discriminate against independent farmers. Strengthen anti-monopoly laws and strengthen producer protections to ensure independent farmers have fair access to markets, control over their production decisions, and transparency in prices.
- Regulate confined animal feeding units (CAFOs): Strictly regulate pollution from large factory livestock farms, with fines for those that violate tough standards. Support meaningful local control.
- Establish country of origin labeling (COOL): Implement COOL so American producers can distinguish their products from imported ones.
- Encourage organic and local agriculture: Help organic farmers afford to certify their crops and reform crop insurance to not penalize organic farmers. Promote regional food systems.
- Encourage young people to become farmers: Establish a new program to identify and train the next generation of farmers. Provide tax incentives to make it easier for new farmers to afford their first farm.
- Partner with landowners to conserve private lands: Increase incentives for farmers and private landowners to conduct sustainable agriculture and protect wetlands, grasslands, and forests.