by John Crabtree, email@example.com, Center for Rural Affairs
As Election Day approaches and campaign advertising thickens, interesting developments are appearing on the horizon. Despite the divisive, hyper-partisan tenor of this election and the vitriol of many congressional races, there is a growing interest in participating in this midterm election, especially among rural voters.
Rural Americans will decide the outcome of a number of highly competitive congressional races. And rural voters may, in the end, determine which political party will be handed the reigns of Congressional leadership – at least for the next two years.
Rural voters in this election have a tremendous responsibility and opportunity, on Election Day and beyond. Congress is scheduled to rewrite the farm bill next year. The 2007 farm bill must not continue the status quo in farm and rural policy. Not if we hope to revitalize family farms, ranches and rural communities.
We must stop subsidizing farm consolidation by limiting farm program payments that mega farms use to drive smaller operations out of business and bar beginning farmers from getting started. And the farm bill must be refocused on real solutions to the challenges faced by rural Americans – conservation on working lands, support for beginning farmers and ranchers, and investment in entrepreneurship on farms, ranches, and rural main-streets.
Rural Americans can and should make their voices heard on every Election Day. But the farm debate and the future of rural America will hinge on whether they continue to stand up for rural America during all the other days, from this election to the next.
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Center for Rural Affairs
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