Agriculture’s Absentee Ballot
October 28, 2014
Mid-term election fever and political advertising is reaching a peak now, and I’ve noticed a rather disappointing trend. There are important issues that affect agriculture, such as COOL, the EPA, GMOs, transportation, drones and privacy, just to name a few. You’d think the election season would be filled with heated debate among the candidates and in the media about these issues. Not so much.
There is an abundance of positive, negative, PAC-sponsored, attack, defend, explain and complain ads, not to mention debates, position papers and editorial endorsements on a multitude of issues, some essential and some just downright silly. But there have been little to no ads, position papers, debates or editorials about agriculture and its key issues by candidates, news media or the general public.
The number of people involved in agriculture and agribusiness continues to slowly shrink. But the economic importance of production agriculture to this country and the world has never been greater. Ag exports generate more than $100 billion a year in business activity and provide nearly a million jobs.
And yet, it takes a lot of hard work and as much noise as we all can muster to get things to go our way. Well, American agriculture is not afraid of hard work. But it would be helpful if we had some more people helping to amplify the noise.
Elections have consequences. That is as true as ever. What are the consequences for agriculture when elections go on with the voice of farmers and agribusiness on the sideline? Elections are free, but we pay for the results.