Actively Engaged - The President Must Act

President Obama declared in January that despite Congressional logjams, “America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

The Center for Rural Affairs has stood firmly in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan as a vital first step in reducing carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants, addressing climate change, and creating opportunities for renewable energy development in rural America. And we have stood up for EPA’s Waters of the U.S. proposal to clear the regulatory waters surrounding the Clean Water Act and better protect rural America’s most precious resource – water.

President Obama must also understand, however, that America’s family farms, ranches, and small towns do not stand still either. Nor do we intend to be left behind. The time has come for President Obama to fulfill his 2007 campaign pledge and close the loopholes mega-farms use to get around farm program payment limits, providing them the unlimited subsidies they use to drive up land costs and drive family farmers out of business.

The president made that promise on an Iowa farm in 2007 as part of his rural policy platform while campaigning for votes from farmers and other rural Iowans. Every president since Ronald Reagan had the authority to close those loopholes, but failed to act.

We have applauded President Obama’s administration for moving the new carbon rule and Waters of the U.S. rule forward. If they can do these things, then they can by God write a meaningful “actively engaged” rule for federal farm programs that protects family farmers and reins in unlimited farm subsidies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will draft a rule on this issue by the end of the year. You can help us ensure it is meaningful by signing our petition. Email me, Traci at tracib@cfra.org, if you have questions.