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Farmers react to Obama's words on inauguration day

Agriculture.com Staff 01/20/2009 @ 1:17pm

Agriculture made it into Tuesday's inauguration ceremony in the form of a few passing remarks by President Barack Obama.

But, those remarks were tied to America's agriculture heritage and the nation's future role in working with developing nations to build their own ag infrastructure, as well as building upon America's renewable energy prospects.

"Everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth," Obama said Tuesday during his inauguration speech. "...We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories."

What's this all mean to farmers? Those who reacted immediately after Obama's speech saw the new President's ag-centered words to be more of a recollection of the nation's history rather than a look ahead to the future. Though this lacks the real substance some were looking for in the President's words, it's a valuable reflection today, especially considering the nation's economic state.

"We may be very nearly the sole success story of the economy at present: View that as a sign that we will take a beating in any attempts to improve the lot of everyone else. There is a near-total disconnect between farms and the rest of America philosophically, and it's been a dysfunctional family relationship for quite some time," writes Agriculture Online Farm Business Talk member Kay/NC. "If, in fact, the nation wanted to return to values and practices that would resovle its economic problems in any true manner, it would embrace agriculture as one arena where things are still to least some extent 'real.' If I say I've got a deadline, it means something will die if we fail to do our jobs here."

Looking ahead, fellow Farm Business Talk member Jim Meade / Iowa City says the new presidency will likely have a clear impact on farmers, both in the trade and when it comes to farm policy.

"My guess is we're talking about more government intervention in markets, less support for exports and likely a cap on ag payments," he says.

As far as the U.S. role in global agriculture, the new administration has a responsibility to change how the nation approaches farm development in other countries, Kay/NC adds.

"I am concerned that we don't have the right mindset in reforming agriiculture in other countries," she says. "I think it's best to ask people what they need, instead of telling them what we think they need, so that we can give them what we want them to have."

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Agriculture made it into Tuesday's inauguration ceremony in the form of a few passing remarks by President Barack Obama.

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