With Pennsylvania being a key swing state for the 2012 U.S. presidential election, it was fitting that key elements of Mitt Romney's agricultural policy platform were revealed there last week. Chuck Conner, chairman of the national Farmers and Ranchers for Romney Coalition, announced them out to supporters during Penn State's Ag Progress Days.
Conner, a former USDA Deputy Secretary, said that in previous administrations, "child labor restrictions on farm youth wouldn't even have passed the 'laugh test'. Yet, the Obama administration was intent on putting far more stringent regulations in place."
That's just one of many examples of overregulating mentality of the present administration. And Conner said that if Romney is elected president, "He will roll back most of the regulations put in place against agriculture by the Obama Administration. I believe he'll roll back many executive orders on day one."
Core campaign issues
Overregulation by the current administration is a core campaign issue. The increasingly complex federal permitting system is driving medium and small-sized businesses out of business with the rising costs. "For instance," says Conner, "it whacks the small farmer – the ones who can least afford them – with more and more financial and environmental requirements. We need to free up American agriculture to produce."
~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~Regarding the nation's energy policy, Romney would immediately clear the path for the Keystone Pipeline from Canada, says Conner. "That would strengthen our economy with jobs and reduce costs of fuel and fertilizer via increased domestic manufacturing." Governor Romney also supports the Renewable Fuels Standards and greater energy production – with no blank checks.
On immigration, the Romney platform says the United States must first solve the fundamental problem of border control, and endorses the Ag Jobs proposal. "We need immigrant workers," notes Conner. "We also need a non-bureaucratic way to verify reliable, legal workers."
Romney coalition farm team
The Farmers and Ranchers for Romney Coalition includes 49 chair and co-chair persons from across the country. Another 34 ag leaders make up the coalition's national advisory board. Here are comments from the five national ag chairs.
Conner, from Indiana, says: "Turning around our economy so it works for all Americans won't be an easy one. But I'm confident Governor Romney will deliver. Having spent most of his career in the private sector, he knows why President Obama's policies have ill-served economic growth and the jobs that only free enterprise can create."
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam adds: "Farmers are looking for a leader in the White House who knows how the private sector works. Throughout the past three and a half years, President Obama has demonstrated in both his rhetoric and his policies that he lacks that understanding. I'm confident that Governor Romney's experience and vision will restore a brighter future for all Americans."
Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns adds: "President Obama's policies have failed to reinvigorate our economy. Even worse, his regulatory overreach stifled growth and cost jobs. I know that success is not the result of government action, but rather individual initiative and hard work. Mitt Romney understands the power of free enterprise and its ability to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit. "Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey says: "Over the course of the past three and a half years, President Obama hasn't made good on the promises of his campaign. The impact of his economic policies has been devastating throughout the country. The need for a new direction and fresh leadership in the White House could not be clearer."