National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis and Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen had positive things to say about the President’s State of the Union Address. Johnson applauded the commitment of President Obama and the administration to address the nation’s budget deficit through both reasonable revenue increases and responsible spending reductions. According to Johnson – another round of withering cuts through sequestration must be prevented in order for important programs to remain effective. NFU was also encouraged by the President’s call for Congress to pass a market-based solution to climate change. Johnson says extreme weather events are hurting the ability of America’s farmers and ranchers to provide the nation with food, feed, fiber and fuel. But with the right incentives – he says agriculture can play a significant role in combating climate change by being a part of the solution. The President’s emphasis on finding a bipartisan solution to the nation’s immigration crisis was also commended. But Johnson notes the ag industry faces different challenges than other U.S. industries – and says any comprehensive immigration reform proposal must recognize and address the industry’s needs.
President Obama also spoke of the importance of jobs and strengthening the American economy. Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen notes biofuels can provide the eco-boost the U.S. economy needs. He says ethanol is a high octane engine driving economic growth and job creation – especially in rural America. But he says ethanol’s ability to strengthen the country’s security and stability doesn’t end with job creation. The President stated the U.S. has purchased less foreign oil than it has in 20 years. Dinneen says 465-million barrels of imported oil were displaced because of domestically produced ethanol. NFU’s Johnson points out that farmers and ranchers are leading the way in the clean energy revolution.
Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis says reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil is imperative for developing a sustainable, cleaner fuel for the future – and applauds the President for his ambitious goals for renewable energy. With a renewed emphasis on sustainable biofuels – Buis says the industry will continue to create good paying jobs that cannot be outsourced, revitalize the economy, drive cutting edge research and investment, as well as provide consumers with a choice and savings at the pump – all while reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
RFA’s Dinneen also highlighted President Obama’s vision of a stronger, cleaner, more self-reliant country and his continuing support of the renewable fuels industry and the Renewable Fuel Standard. Working together – he said we can continue to address environmental issues such as meaningful greenhouse gas reduction as well as the tough economic challenges of job creation and economic and national security.
The American Soybean Association says fuel is only one part of the formula that keeps the U.S. moving – and the President’s proposed improvements in infrastructure are vital to soybean farmers who grow the nation’s largest, most valuable agricultural export commodity. President Obama proposed much-needed repairs to the transportation infrastructure as part of his Fix-It-First program. ASA encourages the President to remember the U.S. waterways infrastructure also need critical repairs.
Farm State Lawmakers Respond Quickly to State of the Union Address
Shortly after President Obama finished his State of the Union Address – House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas expressed disappointment that the President didn’t present a plan to prevent sequestration from going into effect. But Lucas also expressed hope that the President is serious about pursuing a plan to get the U.S. economy back on solid ground. To improve the economy – Lucas says President Obama must realize the federal government has a spending problem – not a revenue problem. According to Lucas – the only way to get a grip on the country’s debt problem is to make significant cuts. He says raising taxes on hard-working American families is not the solution. Lucas adds that a healthy economy is key to creating jobs in the country. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley – a member of the Senate Ag Committee – says it’s up to Washington to create an environment for job creation with tax certainty, regulatory relief, new market opportunities for exports, affordable and secure energy and more. Grassley says Americans also need bipartisan leadership on other big issues – and says broad-based bipartisan support should be the goal for initiatives like immigration reform. According to Grassley – the coming months will show if the President has what it takes to reach across party lines and tackle major issues facing the nation. Nebraska Senator and Ag Committee Member Mike Johanns also questioned whether President Obama will act – stating he hopes the President is prepared to do more in his second term than pay lip service to bipartisanship and trade negotiations.
Source: NAFB News service