Wednesday, June 08, 2016

What are the rural policies of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton?

Now that Hillary Clinton has become the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, and remains the favorite to beat Republican Donald Trump, the question looms how her policies might affect rural America, where she did not run as well as in urban areas. Clinton, who states on her website that she has a "Plan for a Vibrant Rural America," said that "if elected president her administration would work to increase productivity and profitability on family farms," Chris Clayton reports for DTN The Progressive Farmer. "Demonstrating the contrast between the respective presumptive nominees, Clinton's website lists 31 different topics with policy proposals while Donald Trump's website lists seven topics with policy proposals or plans."

"Clinton's environmental proposals likely would not bring any regulatory relief to the next administration that many farmers have clamored for under the Obama administration," Clayton writes. "Instead, her policy positions on the environment could continue to lead to greater regulatory battles when it comes to issues such as pesticides and water quality. High in Clinton's policy position to 'Fight for Environmental and Climate Justice' on her website is mention of concerns over exposure to pesticides and other chemicals affecting minority communities, which her campaign states, 'Simply put, this is environmental racism.'"

"Clinton's campaign calls for tougher Clean Water Act standards and a push to hold companies accountable," Clayton writes. "Her environmental plan doesn’t touch on topics related to the Waters of the U.S. rule. In a list of programs and promises on her website, Clinton's campaign states it would continue to provide commodity payments, crop insurance and disaster programs for 'family farm operations that truly need them in challenging times, like when weather-related disasters devastate whole areas of the country.'"

Clinton has said she supports strengthening the Renewable Fuels Standard "so it focuses on advanced cellulosic fuels and higher ethanol blends," Clayton writes. She also says she supports the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, "which is set at about $20 million annually," and she supports "doubling funds for the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Local Food Promotion Program, both of which are funded at about $13 million currently."

She favors greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables for SNAP recipients, fully funding the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and more funding for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Clayton writes. "Clinton also adds she would support agriculture by continuing to push for comprehensive immigration reform. In infrastructure, Clinton states she would create a national infrastructure bank to improve rural transportation, water and broadband access. In a similar vein, Clinton's policy states her administration would streamline and expand USDA grant programs well. Clinton also states she would simplify regulations for community banks by reducing red tape for banks under $1 billion in assets."

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