Presidential Candidates Stance On Farm Issues

DC Dialogue

A quick look at how Obama and Romney match up on taxes, trade, farm bill and the RFS.

Published on: October 25, 2012

Leading agricultural groups have poised the same questions to each presidential camp with insights given to the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, and American Soybean Association. Here is a synposis of some of the top agricultural economic issues.





Jobs plan would allow farms and other small businesses to immediately write off 100% of the cost of new investments – including in new farm buildings and equipment. He plans to raise the capital gains rate from 15% to 20%.

Maintain the current 15% capital gains rate for wealthier Americans, while totally eliminating capital gains, dividend, and interest taxes for those who earn less than $200,000 per year.

Estate Tax

Return the top tax rate on estates to 45% and reinstate the $7 million per-couple estate tax exemption. Has endorsed the Senate's estate tax exemption of $1 million and increase the tax rate to 55%.

Eliminate the estate tax.

Farm Bill

Maintain a strong crop insurance program and an extended disaster assistance program. Instead of making farmers pay more for crop insurance, do it by cutting subsidies to crop insurance companies and better targeting conservation funding.

Support passage of a strong farm bill that provides the appropriate risk management tools that will work for farmers and ranchers throughout the country. Supports enacting disaster relief for those not covered by traditional crop insurance to cover this year's drought losses.


Maintain RFS

Maintain RFS


Signed trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. Currently negotiating Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Work with Congress to gain Trade Promotion Authority. Stress WTO should reassert itself and create Reagan Economic Zone. Conclude TPP and look to Latin America for future agreements.


Call on Congress to implement AgJOBS Act, which allows farmers to hire workers and provides path to citizenship.

Fix the current system for issuing visas to temporary, seasonal workers by eliminating unnecessary requirements the delay issue of visas.


Keep Clean Water Act exemptions for agricultural discharges.

Laws should promote a rational approach to regulation that takes cost into account.


Cut net oil imports in half by 2020 by responsibly developing all of domestic natural resources, like wind, solar, biofuels, natural gas, oil, and clean coal.

Achieve energy independence by 2020 by advancing new technologies, partnering with Canada and Mexico and expanding permits and licenses for drilling for oil and gas on federal land and waters.

Sources: Obama for AmericaRomney for President and AFBF survey