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Agricultural News

Republican Platform Released- GOP Praises Farmers for Productivity and Care of the Land

Wed, 29 Aug 2012 11:14:02 CDT

Republican Platform Released- GOP Praises Farmers for Productivity and Care of the Land Here is the full statement within the 2012 Republican National Platform that pertains to agriculture. The GOP writers speak of the need to curb over regulation more than once- and also address ending direct farm program price supports- offering instead risk management programs that are counter cyclical in nature. The platform also speaks of agriculture contributing its share of deficit reduction.

In addition, the platform praises farmers and ranchers for their role in providing a trade surplus for America- and for protecting the natural resources that include our soil and water- as well as the protection of farmers and ranchers against an activist EPA.

In the closest sentence to getting specfic about the 2012 farm bill policy discussion- the platform says simply "The success of our system of risk management policies will enable farmers and ranchers to continue to feed and fuel the nation and much of the world."

Abundant Harvests: Protecting Our Farmers

Agricultural production and agricultural exports are a fundamental part of the U.S. economy, and the vigor of U.S. agriculture is central to our agenda for jobs, growth, and prosperity. Our farmers and ranchers are responsible for millions of jobs and for generating a trade surplus of more than $137 billion annually. Our producers provide America with abundant food, export food to hungry people around the world, and create a positive trade balance. Because of their care for the land, the United States does not depend on foreign imports for sustenance the way wedepend on others for much of our energy. However, Americans are concerned about the increasing cost of their food under the current Administration policies that restrict energy production and raise costs for producers due to increased regulation. Our dependence on foreign imports of fertilizer could threatenour food supply, and we support the development of domestic production of fertilizer. The success of our system of risk management policies will enable farmers and ranchers to continue to feed and fuel the nation and much of the world.

Restoring Economic Stability for Our Farmers

Uncertainty is threatening the survival of our na-tion’s farmers. America’s growers and farmers areaging and much of America’s farmland will be passedto the next generation of farmers with families. Un-certainties in estate and capital gains tax lawsthreaten the survival of multigenerational family farms. The proposals for tax reforms contained elsewhere in this document will make certain that family farms will not be lost.

The Proper Federal Role in Agriculture

Agricultural producers and the jobs they gener-ate throughout the entire food chain must confront volatility in both the weather and the markets. We support farm programs that enable them to manage the extraordinary risk they meet in the fields every year. These programs should be as cost-effective as they are functional, offering risk management tools that improve producers’ ability to operate when times are tough. Just as all other federal programs must con-tribute to the deficit reduction necessary to put our country back on a sound fiscal footing, so must farm programs contribute to balancing the budget. Programs like the Direct Payment program should end in favor of those, like crop insurance, that help manage risk and are counter-cyclical in nature. We support the historic role of the USDA in agricultural research that has transformed farming here and around the world. Because food safety is a major concern of the American people, we urge Congress to ensure adequate resources for the Department’s responsibilities in that regard.

The U. S. Forest Service controls about 193 million acres of land and employs 30,000 workers. The Forest Service should be charged to use these resources to the best economic potential for the nation. We must limit injunctions by activist judges regarding environmental management. In order to secure oneof the country’s most important natural resources, we will review the way the Forest Service handles wildfires. This summer’s lack of rainfall over much of agricultural America highlights the importance of access to water for farmers and ranchers alike. We stand with growers and producers in defense of their water rights against attempts by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to expand jurisdiction over water, including water that is clearly not navigable.

The productivity of America’s farmers makespossible the generosity of U.S. food aid efforts around the world. These programs are fragmented betweenthe Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development. They should bestreamlined into one agency with a concentration onreducing overhead to maximize delivery of the actualgoods.The food stamp program now accounts for nearly 80 percent of the entire USDA budget. In finding waysto fight fraud and abuse, the Congress should consider block-granting that program to the States, along withthe other domestic nutrition programs.

Protecting Our Environment

The environment is getting cleaner and healthier. The nation’s air and waterways, as a whole, are much healthier than they were just a few decades ago. Efforts to reduce pollution, encourage re-cycling, educate the public, and avoid ecological degradation have been a success. To ensure their continued support by the American people, however, we need a dramatic change in the attitude of officials in Washington, a shift from a job-killing punitive mentality to a spirit of cooperation with producers, landowners, and the public. An important factor is full transparency in development of the data and modeling that drive regulations. Legislation to restore the authority of States in environmental protection is essential. We encourage the use of agricultural best managementpractices among the States to reduce pollution.

Our Republican Party’s Commitment to Conservation

Conservation is a conservative value. As the pioneer of conservation over a century ago, the Republican Party believes in the moral obligation of the people to be good stewards of the God-given natural beauty and resources of our country and bases environmental policy on several common-sense principles. For example, we believe people are the most valuable resource, and human health and safety are the most important measurements of success. A policy protecting these objectives, however, must balance economic development and private property rights in the short run with conservation goals over the long run. Also, public access to public lands for recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting should be permitted on all appropriate federal lands. Moreover, the advance of science and technology advances environmentalism as well. Science allows us to weigh the costs and benefits of a policy so that we can prudently deal with our resources. This is especially important when the causes and long-range effects of a phenomenon are uncertain. We must re-store scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research.

Private Stewardship of the Environment

Experience has shown that, in caring for the land and water, private ownership has been our best guarantee of conscientious stewardship, while the worst instances of environmental degradation have occurred under government control. By the same token, the most economically advanced countries–those that respect and protect private property rights also have the strongest environmental protections, because their economic progress makes possible the conser-vation of natural resources.

In this context, Congress should reconsider whether parts of the federal government’s enormous landholdings and control of water in the West could be better used for ranching, mining, or forestry through private ownership. Timber is a renewable natural resource, which provides jobs to thousands of Americans. All efforts should be made to make federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service available for harvesting. The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own.

It makes sense that those closest to a situation are best able to determine its remedy. That is why a site and situation-specific approach to an environmental problem is more likely to solve it, instead of a national rule based on the ideological concerns of politicized central planning. We therefore endorse legislation to require congressional approval before any rule projected to cost in excess of $100 million to American consumers can go into effect. The Republican Party supports appointing public officials to federal agencies who will properly and correctly apply environmental laws and regulations, always in support of economic development, job creation, and American prosperity and leadership. Federal agencies charged with enforcing environmental laws must stop regulating beyond their authority. There is no place in regulatory agencies for activist regulators.

Reining in the EPA

Since 2009, the EPA has moved forward with expansive regulations that will impose tens of billionsof dollars in new costs on American businesses and consumers. Many of these new rules are creating regulatory uncertainty, preventing new projects fromgoing forward, discouraging new investment, and stifling job creation. We demand an end to the EPA’s participation in “sue and settle” lawsuits, sweetheart litigation brought by environmental groups to expand the Agency’s regulatory activities against the wishes of Congress and the public. We will require full transparency in litigation under the nation’s environmental laws, including advance notice to all State and local governments, tribes, businesses, landowners,and the public who could be adversely affected.

We likewise support pending legislation to ensure cumulative analysis of EPA regulations, and to require full transparency in all EPA decisions, so that the public will know in advance their full impact on jobs and the economy. We oppose the EPA’s unwarranted revo-cation of existing permits. We also call on Congressto take quick action to prohibit the EPA from movingforward with new greenhouse gas regulationsthat will harm the nation’s economy and threatenmillions of jobs over the next quarter century. The most powerful environmental policy is liberty, the central organizing principle of the American Republic and its people. Liberty alone fosters scientific inquiry, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and information exchange. Liberty must remain the core energy behind America’s environmental improvement.

To read the entire GOP Platform- click here.



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