Back to Top

Farming & Agriculture

The United States is home to 2+ million farms and farmers that feed Americans every day. Indiana is home to nearly 100,000 of those farmers and more than 60,000 farms covering 19 million acres. Farmers are how we survive. To that end, they need a different voice in D.C. They also need greater access to healthcare, more say over the distribution of their own products, and greater property rights. I will work hard to ensure they have these things along with greater access to technologies that allow them to exceed goal production. 

I will begin by stating that I, myself come from a family and ancestry with a great history in farming that dates back to the 15th century. Like many African Americans, through the West African slave trade, my ancestors were forced to America’s shores, where the color of their skin made them outcasts. But like so many others they overcame the prejudices of their time and found a home in the United States.

My great grandparents Elijah and Beatrice Robinson were sharecroppers, and their parents were slaves. As slaves, they tilled the ground and worked hard every day to feed America. After emancipation, my grandmother, Annie Mae Robinson along with her six siblings and my great grandparents eventually acquired their own farmland in Mississippi. They were fortunate to grow their own food and sell it too. During the Great African American Migration, my grandmother was one of more than 6 million who ambitiously arrived in the Midwest in the 1950’s, in search of a better life. Like so many others, her desire was to escape the racism that existed in the South and to take advantage of the opportunities she’d heard of in the North. Instead, she was met with low-paying jobs, sexism, and more segregation.

For my grandmother this was the beginning of poverty. She was never able to fully recover and apply the skills she’d learned from the family tradition of farming, but as her granddaughter, I've made every effort to learn as much as I can about agriculture and farming.

Here’s a few things I know about farming: 

  1. Everything we eat, wear, and use comes from a plant or animal raised on a farm.

  2. Farms are specialized and most have a desire to be high tech. 

  3. Most farmers are dedicated, educated, and care about the land and water. They have hopes of passing on their expertise to their children.   

In my experience with farmers, I can say they are the most kind, warm hearted, gentlest people on the earth, which is why it saddens me to see them taken advantage of each election year by politicians who care very little about them. Farmers have a love for the outdoors, hunting, and an appreciation for tradition, which are typically things associated with the Republican party. However, if you look closely, the Republican party has shown very little interest in protecting the environment, which without it, farmers wouldn’t be able to enjoy the great outdoors or hunting. Republicans also continue to not support healthcare reform, which our farmers desperately need.

Farmers are being bought out and losing their land. They have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet. Over the past 15 years, Indiana has seen the largest reduction in farmland out of all 50 states and our senators aren't doing anything about it. Under Republican control, we see one thing and one thing only: a reduction in regulation on large corporations which allows them to continue to take advantage of small farmers. Farmers must wake up now and realize the games our friends across the aisle have been playing. 

Environmentalism is ideal for rural peoples and farmers because they can’t hunt or farm on degraded, polluted land. They can’t farm if they’re too sick or can’t afford health care, and they can’t continue feeding America's families without the technology. For the last few years (2017-2022), previous administrations hurt farmers economically with tariffs and tax cuts for the wealthy with international blunders and adding to an already bloated national debt.

Now more than ever, it’s time for a shift in farmer thinking. Give me a chance to work alongside my congressional colleagues to encourage them to make the best decisions for American farmers.

As a future member of the U.S. Senate here’s what I plan to work on for farmers:

  • Creating and supporting legislation which allows greater and more affordable access to healthcare for farmers specifically 

  • Introducing legislation that ensures farmers have greater access to technologies which allow them to exceed their production goals

  • Introducing legislation that ensures fair competition for farmers against unequal distribution of market power. Our farmers deserve enforcement of antitrust regulations so they can receive fair pay for their products

  • Holding the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) responsible for the enforcement of antitrust statutes. Despite having antitrust laws in place (Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 and the Clayton Antitrust Act) corporate agribusiness’ monopolization of the market continues to persist. They are also responsible for allowing large corporate businesses to merge excessively reducing fair market competition and allowing illegal price-fixing

  • Reviewing the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, which contained an important provision on parity pricing: price support that covered producers’ costs of production in setting commodity prices. This law lapsed in 1973. Continuing to review the possible reinstatement or new version of the law would ensure that consolidated corporate businesses would not be able to price fix below the cost of production

  • Creating and supporting programs and scholarships which create farming learning opportunities for beginning farmers and encourage a new generation of farmers 

  • Seeking judicial review of mergers and acquisitions approved by the FTC and the DOJ to ensure farmers are not being dispossessed of their ability to compete 

  • Giving more power and more voice back to farmers with regard to the sell and trade of their own products. For example, farmers had very little to no voice in the trade war with China, although they were key players. While I believe the tariff war may have been a step in the right direction towards holding China accountable, it undermined our farmers and put them at the mercy of receiving aid from taxpayers 

Paid for By Hoosiers for Haneefah 
Powered by - Political Websites
Close Menu