Saturday, July 28, 2007

Obama goes rural in Iowa, hits ‘corporate megafarms,’ plans economic summit

Sen. Barack Obama, on a two-day tour of rural Iowa, "pledged Friday to seek help for struggling family farmers and offer more incentives for renewable fuel development," The Associated Press reports. "Rather than investing in rural opportunity, our government is handing out subsidies to corporate megafarms," he told a crowd of about 200 on a farm near Adel.

Obama is from Chicago. "He said that representing Illinois, with its heavy farm sector, gives him credibility on rural issues and insight into small farmers’ plight," AP reports. "He said as president he would continue pushing for a rural agenda, including trade policies that encourage more farming exports. Obama said rural America suffers from a lack of access to broadband Internet service, as well as farm programs that don’t focus on small family farmers and renewable fuel producers."

Obama named three agriculture experts "to study policies that would help rural America," AP reports. "He said he plans to hold an economic summit meeting next month to explain some of these policies." (Read more) "When the conversation veered away from farming -- as it often did -- Mr. Obama sought to steer it back to agriculture policy," reports The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny, a longtime Iowa reporter.

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