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News 227 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Barack Obama's plans for US farmers

Now that Barack Obama has been named the 44th President of the United States, things are about the change. But what changes in agriculture can be expected?

As stated on the website Cardy-Brown.com the biofuel policy was always a major point of difference between Obama and his republican rival John McCain. McCain supported lowering the US import tariff on ethanol which would potentially have led to an increase in Brazilian ethanol and a subsequent fall in demand for domestically produced corn-based ethanol. Brazilian ethanol is far more efficient, both economically in terms of production costs and environmentally in terms of the energy produced.

In contrast Barack Obama has repeatedly emphasised the importance of US energy independence as a driver of biofuels production in the US and is therefore likely to support domestically produced biofuels in favour of imports.

Subsidies
Dutch agricultural newspaper Agrarisch Dagblad reports that Obama is likely to increase the subsidies for agriculture (a typical Democratic approach). Obama also was pro the new farm bill, which was a major issue at the beginning of 2008. At the time, Obama said the new legislation was not perfect, but he supported the part where – mainly small – farmers get more subsidies from the government.

Environment
Regarding the environment, Obama recognises the problems of global warming and he mentioned in one of his speeches that he aims to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions with 80% in 2050 (compared to 1990). Obama was also the only candidate that addressed sustainable and ecological farming. His plans regarding this topic are not fully clear yet, but it is expected that more money will be reserved for conventional farmers who want to farm in an ecological way.

New Minister of Agriculture
Lastly, Obama wants more money for young people who want to pursue their career in agriculture. This is needed as the average farmer in the US is 55 years old. The next coming months, all this ideas has to become clearer. The first important step is to appoint a new Minister of Agriculture. Some people name Collin Peterson, a democrat from Minnesota for this position.

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