We asked hundreds of farmers and ranchers across the United States to tell us their thoughts on the 2020 presidential election and the issues that matter most to them going forward to help us better tell their stories. Here are the 5 issues they said were most important as a farmer in America.
5. Farmer Subsidies
“Farmer subsidies” refers to the financial assistance they receive from the government, and over half of our respondents said farm income is one of their top concerns. This also includes economic support programs during an especially weak and unsettled farm economy.
Over a quarter of respondents included farmer subsidies in the top 3 most important issues to them. However, many said that they don’t want to live on government subsidies and that agriculture needs an open market and fair trade instead.
4. Educate a Disconnected Consumer
28% of our respondents put this category into the top 3 most important issues to them and it is an issue we are seeing become more prevalent among farmers and consumers alike.
Transparency is a reoccurring topic and, in terms of farming, it refers to consumers being aware of where their food came from, along with every step of the production process until it is on their table. Education also includes pesticide application, GMO crops, organic farming, and farming practices in general.
When asked about common misperceptions regarding farmers, some responses were:
“They (think we) play in the dirt all day.”
“That we are not astute business people. They do not recognize that we are managing multi-million-dollar business enterprises… and that we are better educated than the majority of the US population.”
3. Input Costs
35% of our total respondents included input costs in their top 3 issues American farmers face today. Many feel as though politicians underestimate the costs it takes to run a farm and they think farmers are much more profitable and wealthy than they actually are.
Farmers made it clear they don’t want to live on government subsidies. Lower input costs would help them achieve this and become profitable.
2. Global Free Trade
Global free trade was a common issue among many farmers and 37% of our respondents put it in their top three.
When asked to address further what either political party could do to help, many responded to support free trade. They also want less government intervention across all aspects of agriculture. Some wrote that they want to see an improvement in economic policy and stability in regard to both global trade and all of ag.
1. Trade with China
Trade with China was the most common issue we saw among farmers. 40% of our respondents included it in their top three.
Farmers are especially concerned about the unsettled state of relations with China. When asked about the most important thing either party could do to help farmers and ranchers in America, many responded to resolve the trade war with China.
COVID had a large effect on global trade, however, China still remains a vital participant. In 2018, China led the country with the highest amount of combined imports and exports at $5 trillion. We need trade with China and they need trade with us, and farmers recognize this.
To see the full Farmer and Rancher Election Survey results, click here.
The Bottom Line
Farmers in America feel they are misunderstood and undervalued for everything they provide to our country and world. They understand what needs to take place for them to have a successful enterprise and hope these concerns are thoroughly yet quickly addressed.