Election year puts agricultural issues in the spotlight

The upcoming presidential election gives farmers and other agriculture professionals the opportunity to address key policy issues. | File photo

The upcoming presidential election gives farmers and other agriculture professionals the opportunity to address key policy issues.

“The upcoming election won’t determine the size and scope of a farm bill or determine farm prosperity,” Bruce Knight, principal and founder of Strategic Conservation Solutions, said. “But it could impact areas related to trade, immigration and regulatory standards.”

Syngenta brings five key issues to the attention of agriculture professionals to follow over the next several months leading up to the election in November.

The first issue is the Trans-Pacific Partnership being passed by Congress now that negotiations have wrapped up. Many believe the partnership will be beneficial to American agriculture, but worry Congress will delay passing it until the elections are over.

The second issue is immigration reform has come to a complete halt, despite the presidential candidates repeatedly talking about the issue. It is unlikely there will be any sort of overhaul of the immigration reform program before the elections.

One issue that could see movement in Congress before the elections is regulatory actions on key legacy issues for President Barack Obama’s administration. Issues similar to the Waters of the United States rule may become talking points among various groups as a way to sway voters in the election.

Biotech acceptance is a hot topic now because people want to know if genetically modified ingredients in food are harmful and there is a federal bill moving through Congress on how to standardize food labels. A proposal known as the Coordinated Framework is a proposal to modernize regulatory channels for approving new biotech traits within the US Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency.

Finally, a legacy issue for Obama is energy and climate change as 2016 will see more biofuels blended than in years past. However, regulatory and Congressional action in late 2015 may limit what can be accomplished before the end of Obama’s presidency.

“The key thing is putting ourselves in front of these issues,” Jeffrey Sands, manager of federal government relations for Syngenta, said. “We have to drive home the importance of rural America inside the beltway and to the presidential hopefuls.”

Organizations in this story

Syngenta Basel, Switzerland

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

Get notified the next time we write about any of these organizations