Now that the tickets for the Republican and Democratic candidates for president and vice president are presumably set, all eyes are on the 2020 general election. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will go head to head on the issues with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris.
Each candidate – whether a relative newcomer to the political scene or a long-term figure – has developed a track record on rural and agricultural issues that will be in the spotlight. Perhaps the most important ag-related policy issue this fall will be the candidates’ positions on foreign trade.
Biden and Harris are likely to target Trump’s trade policies, claiming they were bad for rural America. Trump and Pence are expected to counter those arguments, citing their work on passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. This trade deal modernized and expanded free trade with our neighbors to the north and south. It was met with broad, bipartisan support in Congress. Harris was one of 10 senators who voted against USMCA, citing mainly environmental and labor concerns.
Most of the candidates are on record opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership multilateral trade deal. Trump withdrew the United States from it soon after taking office. It would seem multilateral trade deals face dim prospects over the next four years no matter the ticket chosen.
The Missouri Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation were both extremely supportive of the TPP. This massive deal would have opened Pacific rim countries to American agricultural products. These markets would have provided huge opportunities for U.S. farmers. Continued negotiations with our trading partners and opportunities for growth likely will be key points that the candidates highlight when making the rounds in rural America.
Other issues that likely will appeal to rural voters are items such as regulatory reform. Many farmers and ranchers fear additional regulations that could hurt their farming operations. Where each candidate stands on rolling back onerous, burdensome policies will play a big role in garnering rural support. With net farm income expected to decline once again this year, rural Americans cannot afford unnecessary mandates.
Rural infrastructure, including both transportation and broadband, is more important now than ever as we continue to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of the candidates have highlighted the additional need for rural broadband funding and their desire to improve our roads and bridges. Details will be important, though, and candidates will be pressed for plans that include how the measures will be paid for. Renewable energy likely will garner attention as candidates address the future of ethanol and biodiesel in addition to power generated by wind and solar farms.
As Election Day grows closer, we hope to hear more about each candidate’s plans for rural citizens. The farm economy is in the throes of a multiyear slump, with a pandemic and recession thrown on top. The outcome of this November’s election could make a big difference in the lives of rural Missourians.
Eric Bohl is the director of public affairs and advocacy for Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm organization, and Spencer Tuma is its director of national legislative programs. Bohl can be reached at email@example.com.
Read profiles of this year's honorees.
Aaron York, general superintendent of Donco 3 Construction, describes what he sees in the construction job market in Springfield in 2021. Rachel York is the co-owner of Donco3 Construction.
Jim Meinsen gives his advice for finding new clients as the owner of a new or existing business. Jim and Debbie Meinsen own TCI Graphics, and recently celebrated 50 years in business.
Jeramey and Julia Henson discuss the reason they and HM Dentworks co-owner Chris McWhirter started the HM Dentworks Academy. With the job demands of their field taking them across the country, all three felt that they needed a plan for the future.
Caleb Scott, owner and coach of the Queen City Insane Asylum, says the name for the team was chosen lightheartedly. He said the name also catches people's attention.
Barak Hill gives advice based on what he learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected his business. He says we should all have a backup plan ready to use.
Sandy Higgins, owner of the Crackerjack Shack, recommends the book "The E-Myth Mastery" by Michael E Gerber. She says it changed the course of how she runs her business.
Aaron York describes the work culture he tries to foster at Donco3 and why he attributes to it a part of Donco3's success. Rachel York is a co-owner of Donco3 and Aaron is the General Superintendent.
Hollie Elliott, executive director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group, explains how local schools factor into business decisions and affect a local community.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, says an important lesson she learned was not to over-expand and to do her research before hand. She gives examples from her experience as a startup business owner.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen own TCI Graphics, and are now celebrating 50 years of business. Jim Meinsen takes some time to explain his philosophy on debt, and how to stay out of it.