Obama’s rural agenda

Have you seen this? It’s Obama’s agenda for rural America. Some excerpts (italics mine; some items reworded for brevity and clarity):

  • Funnel subsidies to small farms, not agribusinesses
  • Ban meat packers from owning livestock
  • Strictly regulate CAFOs
  • Establish Country of Origin Labeling
  • Encourage Organic and Local Agriculture
  • Encourage Young People to Become Farmers
  • Partner with Landowners to Conserve Private Land
  • Support Small Business Development: Provide capital for farmers to create value-added enterprises, like cooperative marketing initiatives and farmer-owned processing plants. Establish a small business and micro-enterprise initiative for rural America.
  • Connect Rural America with broadband
  • Combat Methamphetamine
  • Improve Healthcare
  • Improve Rural Education: Provide incentives for talented individuals to enter the teaching profession, including increased pay for teachers who work in rural areas. Create a Rural Revitalization Program to attract young people to rural America and retain them. Increase research and educational funding for Land Grant colleges

I’m speechless. In a good way.

The town I grew up in has about 2000 people. The goal of most of the college-bound students (perhaps 20-25% of the class) is “get the hell out of here ASAP and only come back for Thanksgiving.” Small towns and rural areas have huge problems with alcohol, drugs, unemployment, crumbling schools…and they get less attention than inner cities because the overall population is smaller.

So I’m thrilled to see these goals, which touch not only food and environmental issues that are close to my heart, but also infrastructure and quality of life issues, too.

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9 Comments

  1. January 21, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    A lot of his new agenda in this area came from the Times magazine issue – Food Fights, that was in October or November. I was delighted, because prior to reading that, he was lukewarm on a lot of these issues.

  2. TeacherPatti said,

    January 21, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    That’s awesome. I hope he’ll encourage better food for kids in schools. They had “poop burritos” today (I did NOT need to hear that, btw, given that my stomach already hurt :))

  3. Robyn M. said,

    January 21, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    It’s hard to believe that we have a president with whom I vary from “lukewarm” to “in strident agreement with” on agricultural issues. (Broadband–meh. Subsidy program improvement–yup! Encouraging new farmers and local farms–YEAH!)

  4. Leasmom said,

    January 21, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    OMG, that’s wonderful news!!! I noticed he was talking about pulling up our sleeves and working hard and I kept thinking about farming when he was talking. That’s wonderful news. I hope it comes true!!!

  5. Aelwyn said,

    January 22, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I’m hoping he lives up to his promises on these items, as they are VERY important, especially in a time when the planet is strained, the pocketbooks of all are strained, and there is too much crap in our food (plus massive obesity in our society).

    Go Obama!

  6. ilex said,

    January 24, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Holy tamale, it’s like a different country, isn’t it?

  7. Christy said,

    January 25, 2009 at 12:31 am

    Thank you for posting this! It looks like, however, the link to the original piece is broken. I’ll see if I can find it on my own in the meantime.

    I want to print it out, and post it on the wall as a reminder to myself to nudge my senators and house rep to push these in congress as well…

  8. Dakota said,

    January 26, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    http://www.ethicurean.com/2009/01/25/loafing-in-a-cold-climate/#more-3424

    You’ll probably find out in your blog stats, but you were linked here. 🙂

  9. Jesse said,

    January 28, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Our national farm policy for the last few decades has been sick, ailing, and headed for life support. A good hard look at where we WANT our food to come from is exactly what we need. Resoundingly the answer seems to be that we want our food from small local farmers that for some reason can’t make a buck selling us the same stuff the big companies sell us. Why? Well if I had the whole answer I’d be pushing it, but it has to do with subsidies and farm incentives. Go Obama! I’ve got my overalls and pitchfork ready and waiting! 😀


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