U.S. Presidential hopefuls split over farm policy

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Barack Obama would support the full implementation of the controversial 2008 Farm Bill if elected as U.S. President - while John McCain would oppose it.

This has emerged from answers offered by both candidates to questions put to them exclusively by Agra Informa's U.S.-based publication The Food and Fibre Letter.

Obama - currently tipped as hot favourite to occupy the White House after the Presidential election on November 4 - told the newsletter, he stands with farmers in supporting a package that provides stability for agriculture.

The new Farm Bill, which was approved in May in the face of Presidential opposition, will cost a total of $307 billion over five years and will maintain and reinforce the majority of market and income protection provisions in existing U.S. farm legislation.

It has been fiercely criticised by the U.S.'s trade partners as flying in the face of attempts at agricultural policy reform within the WTO Doha Round - and Republican candidate McCain shared the criticisms, telling the Agra Informa newsletter that US families were feeling the sting of misguided federal agriculture polices through higher food prices.

Mc Cain claimed instead of fine tuning the farm programmes to improve their efficiency, the state had have allowed them to swell into mammoth government bureaucracies that generally exist to serve special interests at the behest of Congressional benefactors.