May 1, 2010

President Obama's Take on Rural Farm Development

"Support Strong Farm and Rural Economic Development

The President believes farm programs should target family farmers and provide the stability and predictability they need. President Obama believes that American farmers should have protection from market disruptions and weather disasters. At the same time, farm program effectiveness should be improved through restrictions on commodity payments to wealthy farmers. The President also supports the implementation of a commodity program payment limit, which will help ensure that payments are made only to those that most need them.
The President supports rural development programs including microentrepreneur assistance, rural cooperative development grants, value-added producer grants, grants to minority producers, and cooperative research agreements."  (
Through the eyes of a sociologist, this strong support for farm and rural economic development from the President is necessary for many families to continue doing what they've always done.  Farming, while it has become largely commercialized, is still how many people make their living.  By providing some commodity and help when natural disasters strike or the market falls will help provide some stability for those providing food to Americans.  It is fantastic, in my opinion, that the President has chosen to support rural development programs that will allow people who may not have the ability to be the CEO of major companies to become entrepreneurs.
In retrospect, had we chosen to implement grants, rather than just loans, 20, 30 or 40 years ago, perhaps we would have more legal workers today that are paid livable wages.  So often farm hands are cheap help, but the farmers still sell their food at a higher cost.  

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