Nebraska GOP Targets Farm Regulations

In a Nebraska Farm Bureau forum earlier this week, the three Republican candidates for Senate met to discuss the future of agriculture in the state and to address their respective views on state and federal farm policy.

The Nebraska Senate race was thrown into turmoil last December when two-term Democratic Senator Ben Nelson announced he would not be seeking reelection in 2012. With the Senate seat open for the first time since 2000, several Republicans have entered the race to replace Nelson. The three leading candidates are Attorney General Jon Bruning, State Treasurer Don Stenburg, and State Senator Deb Fischer.

The three candidates dominated the Farm Bureau forum, using the gathering as a chance to air their views to the public and extend feelers into the agricultural community.

Despite current budget hysteria in Congress, all three candidates supported continuing current federal farm safety nets. All three candidates, for example, supported federal crop insurance programs, which would offer farmers payments if crop prices fell below a certain level. All three candidates also supported continuing and creating new disaster protection programs.

In addition to specific views on farm subsidies and supports, all three candidates used the forum as an opportunity to voice their views on federal farm regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency was subject to the harshest criticism by all three candidates, with Stenburg and Fischer supporting the elimination of the EPA and Bruning boasting that as Attorney General he had resisted EPA policies and mandates.

All three candidates also stressed the need for expanded state control of agricultural policies, criticizing federal agencies like the EPA and suggesting that Congress should first approve all rules and regulations proposed by the federal bureaucracy.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer