For too long, politicians on both sides of the aisle have paid lip service to family farmers and small business owners while writing laws designed to benefit the largest corporate conglomerates. Each year, we lose more family farms to unstable prices and uncertainty abroad, and year-after-year we see our neighbors in farming communities creep closer and closer to the poverty line. Ohio farmers deserve better.
Farmers need a stable business climate to earn an honest living and a consistent set of rules to play by. They need real federal and state investment in infrastructure and technology to send American food wherever the need is greatest and prices are fair. We can protect family farmers dealing with the giant buyers and suppliers in the highly concentrated agriculture sector by introducing right-to-repair rules and protection from retaliation. In Congress, I will support efforts to create jobs and uplift working families with infrastructure investments that connect local farmers to the markets that need them, bridging the gap between small farms and urban food deserts. We must also ensure that the next generation of farmers is supported with tax incentives and rural development grants that make a future in farming possible.
Congress must also ensure that broadband infrastructure, water line and drainage repairs, and Ag research are fully funded so that family farms can utilize emerging technologies that increase yields, improve the efficiency of water and other inputs, and build sustainability and resilience across crop cultivation and animal husbandry.
Finally, renewable energy and farming are a winning combination. Wind, solar, and biomass energy can be harvested forever, providing farmers with a long-term source of income. Many Ohio farmers already produce renewable energy by growing corn to make ethanol, and an increasing number of farms are now adding to their incomes by harvesting the sun and wind that blows across their land to make electricity. In the Ohio General Assembly, I have consistently opposed efforts that hinder the ability of farmers to utilize their properties for these new options for renewable energy and “cash crops”. Ohio is also one of the top states for both corn and ethanol production, yet we lag in the lower half of consumer availability at gas pumps for E15 high-ethanol blend motor fuel. In Congress, I will always support efforts that expand renewable energy technologies, incentives, and support that directly benefit our Ohio farmers.