The House Agriculture Committee ranking Democrat, Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota, told Davis that the gist of each candidate's stance on agriculture is this: Mitt Romney favors fewer regulations, as do many rural residents; Obama is better at supporting the Farm Bill, which includes disaster relief for farmers and funding for rural development projects. University of North Dakota economics professor David Flynn told Davis rural people are "'forced' to back the candidate of their favorite parties ... because neither delivers enough information for them to make good decisions."
"Neither candidate is laying out any specifics regarding rural-specific policies, even the consequences of other policy ideas such as energy on rural economies," Flynn said. "There is no attention being paid to it. At some level, it is a disservice." Ed Schafer, former agriculture secretary and a member of Romney's Agriculture Advisory Team, said the candidates miss an opportunity to talk about the strength of U.S. farming when they don't focus on rural issues. Obama focuses on renewable energy when talking farm issues, but other parts of the farm-sector "can't get an ear anywhere," Schafer said.
"Rural America is not on the front burner for one main reason: votes," Davis writes. Center for Rural Strategies President Dee Davis said the issues facing rural America are complex and not easy to solve, and candidates know they get most of their votes from urban areas. (Read more)