Presidential politics being what it is this season has anyone asked the current slate of candidates their views on American agriculture?
Has any of the current cast of characters even uttered the word “agriculture” in a speech? During a debate? On television?
Do they know that America grows food for human consumption? Do they even care?
Whether you’re animated about a particular candidate or simply jaded by the whole process because none of them seem worthy to hold public office, an honest step back from the politics of it all should have every one of us curious about their thoughts on American agriculture and the policies that affect it.
So far all we’ve heard from any of the candidates seeking the privilege to serve American citizens and represent us on the world stage is why their opponent is an idiot.
Do any of them know a farmer? Is there a grower out there who knows any of the current candidates well enough to make a phone call and get them to describe their thoughts on U.S. agricultural policy without calling their opponent a bad name?
Do any of them understand (even from a rudimentary level) what it takes to move food from farm to fork? Do they understand how policy decisions affect American farmers and what are their thoughts on those decisions?
Can they explain the connection between water and farms? What about their thoughts on public funding for agricultural research?
Do they have thoughts on the subsidized farming operations in foreign countries that our farmers must compete against in world markets? Do they support American agriculture?
Can any of them talk coherently about trade issues that seem to put American farmers at a disadvantage and could have health impacts on American consumers because of the pesticides used in foreign countries that are otherwise banned in the United States?
Do any of them realize that China is single-handedly responsible for world cotton prices being so depressed?
How about their thoughts on environmental laws and regulations that allow reservoirs once used to irrigate thousands of acres of farmland to be drained because unelected bureaucrats believe nine fish in the Stanislaus River don’t know their way back to the ocean.
What are their recommendations for water sustainability in California and Arizona? Do they have any thoughts on how the Colorado River is shared by the states (and can they name the states that share its water)?
What are their views on American agriculture in general? Can they, without prompting from an overpaid political consultant, describe the connection between a sustainable agricultural economy, food production in the United States and our national security and sovereignty?