With less than two weeks until the 2012 presidential election, surrogates for both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney are crisscrossing swing states and appealing to voters.
Secretary Vilsack, given his ties to rural Iowans and his role as the head of the US Department of Agriculture, is making the final case to rural voters, arguing that the Obama administration’s policies have greatly benefitted American farmers.
The bulk of Vilsack’s arguments have focused on international trade, which has been a major part of Obama’s agricultural policy. During the last four years, the Obama administration has signed several free trade agreements (including treaties with Colombia and South Korea), and has pushed for expanding free trade agreements into Southeast Asia. Over the last four years, US farmers have repeatedly set records for farm exports.
In addition, Vilsack praised the president for his attention to farm demographics. With the farm population rapidly aging (some states report an average farmers age reaching 60), Obama and Vilsack have offered USDA loans and grants to young farmers in an effort to attract them to the agricultural industry. While it may be too early to tell, it appears that these efforts may be paying off.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer