Americans head to the polls on Nov. 3
By Diego Flammini
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has outlined his vision for farmers and rural America.
The Biden Plan for Rural America is currently a three-pronged approach he would use as president to “pursue a rural economic development strategy that partners with rural communities to invest in their unique assets, with the goal of giving young people more options to live, work, and raise the next generation in rural America.”
The first part of the plan calls for a revitalization of rural economies, which includes American farmers.
If elected, Biden promises to adopt trade policies that work for U.S. producers, which includes standing up to China and ending the trade war.
He also commits to supporting beginning farmers.
During his tenure as vice-president, he and President Obama helped create a microloan program for new and beginning farmers allowing them to receive loans of up to $50,000.
If he wins the presidency in November, Biden promises to double the maximum loan amount to $100,000.
In addition, Biden wants to work with farmers to create supply chains to help them deliver fresh produce and other goods to schools, hospitals and other state or federal institutions.
Biden also has plans to support ag research by increasing support for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
New industry technology “should be developed and owned by the American people, not private companies who can use patents to expand profits,” his plan says.
Biden has a vision to help U.S. agriculture reach net-zero emissions.
He promises to expand the Conservation Stewardship Program to provide farmers with payments as they protect the environment, including carbon sequestration.
Another part of Biden’s plan regarding farmers surrounds market concentration.
“The Biden Administration will protect small and medium-sized farmers and producers by strengthening enforcement of the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts and the Packers and Stockyards Act,” his plan states.
The former vice-president’s vision for rural America also includes expanding bio-based manufacturing.
Biden plans to create low-carbon manufacturing sectors in every state, including rural communities. In addition, his team would invest $400 billion into clean energy research and biofuels.
Rural America under a Joe Biden presidency would also see further investments into wind and solar energy and green infrastructure, and increased funding to bring high-speed broadband to rural communities. Also, he promises more funding for Community Development Financial Institutions and the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.
The second part of Biden’s plan for rural America includes working with rural communities to help them receive federal resources.
Doing so would include creating a “White House StrikeForce consisting of agency leaders who will partner with community-building organizations in persistent poverty rural communities and help them unlock federal resources,” Biden’s plan states.
In addition, Biden would apply Congressman James Clyburn’s 10-20-30 formula, which distributes 10 percent of available program funding to areas where 20 percent of the population have been living below the poverty line for 30 years, to all federal programs.
The third pillar of Biden’s plan for rural America is centered around hospitals and health care.
He promises to defend the Affordable Care Act and expand coverage to low-income adults.
In addition, a Biden-led administration would give rural health care providers funding to study ways of keeping hospitals operational to care for rural residents.
He would also increase funding for community health centers, help encourage medical students from rural communities to work in their hometowns, build new clinics and invest in telehealth in rural areas.