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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 greater voice in Washington, 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 their goals. 

I will begin by stating that I, myself come from a family and ancestry with a great history in farming and keeping the land that dates back to the 15th century and beyond. 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 these 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 their communities. My grandmother, Annie Mae Robinson along with her six siblings and my great grandparents eventually acquired their own farmland in Laurel, Mississippi. They were fortunate to grow their own food and sometimes sell it too. During the Great African-American Migration, my grandmother was one of more than 6 million who ambitiously arrived in the Midwest (Chicago, Illinois) in the 50’s, in search of a better life. She desired to escape the deep racism that existed in the South and to take advantage of the new opportunities she’d heard of in the North. Instead, she was met with low-paying jobs and even 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 made several efforts to learn as much as I could about agriculture and farming with every chance I got. 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 are 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 party 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 Republicans. However, the problem is that the Republican party has shown very little interest in protecting the environment over the years, which without it, farmers wouldn’t be able to enjoy the outdoors or hunting. Republicans also continue to not support healthcare reform, which would provide healthcare to farmers. Finally, they continue to vote against social programs that would benefit farmers vastly. Under Republican control, we see one thing and one thing only: a reduction of taxes and regulation for the wealthy, which allows large corporations to continue to take advantage of small farmers. Farmers must wake up and realize the games Republicans play by using evangelicals and the “love of guns” as a way to keep their so-called “base” intact. Environmentalism and diversity are ideal for rural peoples and farmers because they can’t hunt or farm on degraded, polluted land. They can’t farm if they’re sick or can’t afford health care, and they can’t practice religion without the freedom of doing so. For the last few years (2017-2020), the Trump administration hurt farmers economically with tariffs and tax cuts for the wealthy with international blunders and bloated national debt. Now more than ever, it’s time for a shift in farmer thinking. I hope to provide the start of that shift. Give me a chance to work alongside my fellow Republican colleagues and friends to encourage them to make the best decisions for the American people. Being conservative doesn’t mean being unwilling to change or sow what’s best into the means conserving the values of the American spirit. 

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. Reviewing 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, period. Farmers had very little to no voice in the trade war with China, although they were key players. The Trump Administration (2017) was willing to gamble with the livelihoods of American farmers to punish someone else. 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 
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