Supporting Ohio's Farmers
Agriculture has always been vital to the well-being of the people of Ohio...
Not only do our vast agricultural resources provide stable jobs for many hard working families, but the agricultural products that originate in our state help to feed the entire world. Agriculture is a complex industry that depends on science, technology, international trade, labor and so much more -- effective agriculture policy must understand these complexities. Because successful farming requires a broad range of support I support the extensive funding for farmers under the Farm Bill. By supporting family farms, working to streamline government regulations, ensuring access to fair trade and international markets, and providing all Ohioans with access to the technology and education necessary to make them competitive and prosperous in the 21st century, we can ensure the prosperity of Ohio’s agriculture sector for years to come.
The Farm Bill
The Farm Bill originated in 1933 as part of FDR's New Deal in order to provide subsidies to U.S. farmers during the Great Depression. Today, this omnibus, multi-year legislation funds a variety of food and agriculture programs that impact Americans from virtually every corner of the country. In 2018, the Farm Bill is up for reauthorization, and it's critical that congress allocate enough funds to support these essential programs, which provide support to millions of Americans. From crop insurance and conservation to initiatives like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Farm Bill provides funding for programs that support a wide-range of issues and demographics. Unfortunately, House Republicans, including Jim Jordan, proposed massive cuts to programs like SNAP last summer. According to the Center for American Progress, there were 55,415 households receiving SNAP benefits in Ohio's 4th congressional district in 2016. If the proposed budget cuts were enacted, by 2023 thousands of families would lose access to benefits that provide them with the most basic of human necessities - the food they need to survive. I promise to fight for the Farm Bill -- and all of us who benefit from it -- because everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve the American dream.
We must ensure that Ohio's farmers and rural Americans are given the opportunity to succeed in the new digital world by closing the digital divide. One way to do this is through USDA’s Community Connect Grant, which funds increased broadband access for rural areas. From education aids to farming equipment, investing in rural communities and expanding access to modern technology will build capacity in these farming communities. With this increased toolset, we can help Ohioans remain productive and competitive in the rapidly changing environment of the 21st century.
The Next Generation of American Farmers
We must empower the next generation of America’s farmers with access to affordable, quality education in a variety of different fields. With continued research investment at land-grant universities and additional support for trade-schools and local community colleges, we can ensure that young farmers have the opportunity and ability to obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to continue these vital farming practices. By increasing access to education and providing new opportunities for farmers to access capital, we can guarantee that young farmers have the chance to apply their hard-earned skills. This will benefit them, their local communities, and all of us who see their hard work on our dinner table every night.
Rural Families and Agriculture Workers
I pledge to fight for increased funding for our rural farmers, with a promise to press for programs that protect family farmers and agricultural workers from natural disasters, inclement weather, government overreach, and dangerous working conditions. I will fight to ensure that programs like the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard, which offers occupational protections to more than 2 million agricultural workers, remain in place. These kinds of programs, like ones that protect Ohioans from the harmful effects of pesticides and herbicides, or ensure access to adequate housing, or provide equity capital to expand rural farms and businesses, are critical to ensuring the success and prosperity of Ohio’s rural communities.
Preserving Our Land
We must also recognize the importance of preserving our most precious resource – the land on which so many Ohioans and citizens around the globe depend. By providing assistance to farmers who conserve their own natural resources and promoting programs like Farm Operating Loans and Farm Real Estate Loans (offered by USDA's Farm Service agency) that emphasize responsible farming practices, we can ensure that Ohioans will be able to use our land for generations to come.