President Trump’s re-election prospects still look good — in rural America — but do his agriculture policies justify rural votes?
As farm and small-town folks, we must keep in mind that family-scale farming is the economic bedrock for our valued way of life. Unfortunately, the President’s agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue, who he hired to reflect his farm policy views, recently stated to Wisconsin’s struggling dairy farmers that “In America, the big get bigger, and the small will go out.”
This revealing pronouncement is reason alone for rural voters to think twice about permitting Trump to lead our nation again. It doesn’t add up to Trump’s promise four years ago to reverse the stress on family farmers.
Quite frankly, recent Democratic presidents and their ag secretaries, including former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, have been too complacent on farm policy, too willing to see Big Ag consolidate market power and to see farm consolidation go unchecked. Granted, under Obama and Vilsack, farm commodity prices, for a while, set 50-year market records. But that was the result of micro-economic conditions, not long-game policy.
The successful New Deal farm policy was dismantled piece by piece by Big Ag interests. So for five decades now we have experienced farmstead cannibalism, soil and water degradation, cheap grains for vertically integrated factory farms and processors (Smithfield Foods, et al) and a dramatic decline in rural life vibrancy, all encouraged by DC politicians and their Big Ag financial bankrollers.
The red state mentality we have seen grow under Trump and his enablers fosters resentment and division and is reactionary. Now, to survive and prosper, we need a much different, common-sense mentality that is proactive, that respects the worth of farmers and townspeople. Obviously then, the Trump regime must go.
Joe Biden wouldn’t have been a first choice for President. But he’s essentially decent, thoughtful, and will advocate for policies more friendly to farmers and good for rural places.