State of the Union Touches on Ag Issues of Trade, Immigration

President Obama addresses variety of ag issues in State of the Union Address; groups respond

Published on: Jan 30, 2014

AFBF's Stallman commented: "TPA is the catalyst needed to advance U.S. proposals to reduce tariffs and improve market access for farmers and ranchers in trade negotiations. The U.S. market is one of the most open in the world, yet our farmers and ranchers face high tariffs and other noncompetitive practices when they try to export their products.

"For U.S. agriculture to thrive, we have to correct these disparities and level the playing field," he said.

ASA was quick to support the President's comments as well, noting that strong trade policies can strengthen agricultural trade, which supports more than a million domestic jobs.

"As our nation's leading farm export, trade is vital to the success of soybean farmers, and we applaud this emphasis from the President," ASA's Gaesser said.

Energy

Groups disillusioned with the President's policy on energy were ready for his remarks Tuesday, the same day the public comment period closed on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed plan to cut renewable fuel volumes in the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Though the President said the U.S. is closer to energy independence now than it has been in decades, he made little mention of corn ethanol or other fuels from agricultural products.

"While the President repeatedly cites a desire to pursue his 'all of the above' energy strategy, the policies of his administration tell a different story," Gaesser commented.

"If the President is truly committed to all energy options, we encourage him to recognize what soybean farmers already know: biodiesel is a viable and available alternative that helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil, lower greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs," he said.

National Corn Growers President Martin Barbre added: "We call on his Administration to back away from its irresponsible proposal to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard, a program that has done much to promote energy independence, restore jobs in rural America, and clear the air."

See a video of the President's State of the Union address.