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Presidential Candidates: Promises, Promises

PHOTO: Large farm being harvested.  Corbis.  All Rights Reserved.
PHOTO: Large farm being harvested. Corbis. All Rights Reserved.
August 28, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - When President Obama was running for office four years ago, he made closing or capping farm payments to huge cooperate farms a centerpiece of his rural policy. Chuck Hassebrook, executive director of the Center for Rural Affairs, thinks the President needs to be reminded of his promises when he visits ISU today.

"It's a perfect opportunity to say to President Obama: 'You made this a centerpiece in 2008 but you haven't lifted a finger to do anything about it since.'"

Hassebrook says Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan likewise proposed capping subsidies to large farms in the budget blueprint he proposed as chairman of the House Budget Committee. But when it came time for the House of Representatives to develop a farm bill to put that into policy, Ryan fell silent on capping mega-farm subsidies.

Hassebrook believes candidates talk a good game on family farm issues but, when it comes to passing legislation, something else is guiding them.

"When they go back to govern, both parties are responsive to the most powerful and the richest interest, and that's large-scale agriculture over family farms."

He says with presidential candidates visiting the state repeatedly before the election, Iowans are in a unique position to be heard on this issue.

Richard Alan, Public News Service - IA