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Michael Whitehead, analyst for Rabobank, explained that the future of ethanol lies in this fall's presidential elections. President George W. Bush, along with his administration, widely supports the ethanol industry. Bush's mention of
Republican Sen. John McCain on the other hand has been a long-standing ethanol opponent. He's cosponsored legislation recently to freeze ethanol production at 9 billion gallons and joined other non-Midwest senators writing the EPA administrator in support of waiving the RFS for
McCain's agricultural policy states if elected president he "will ensure the EPA exercises its authority to waive this mandate or restructure it to ease the unintended consequences it will have on
Illinois Democrat Sen. Barack Obama has been wishy-washy on his support for the industry with the media reports of ethanol's role in food prices.
However, his policy states he wants to invest more federal money into cellulosic ethanol. In addition, less than 10% of new ethanol production is from farmer-owned refineries. Obama states he wants to create a number of incentives for local communities to invest in biofuels refineries.
On the issues
McCain's record shows he's a strong supporter of free trade with his policy statements outlining continued support of working to achieve a multilateral world trade deal. Obama is less likely to support free trade agreements and has called into question the effectiveness of NAFTA.
McCain stated he supports a 21st century "green revolution" and wants to dedicate a "robust scientific research agenda" to help grow better crops using less land, water and natural resources.
McCain said he believes that "rural
Obama stated some of the main problems facing rural American include farm consolidation, CAFOs polluting the environment and rural communities left behind due to lack of infrastructure and remote distances.
As president, Obama said he will fight for tighter payment limits and a ban on packer ownership of livestock. Both McCain and Obama stated they support a payment limitation cap of $250,000 and want resources directed to those with the greatest need. McCain supports the risk management program and disaster aid.
Obama stated he would provide tax incentives to make it easier for new farmers to afford their first farm. He also outlined ways to increase the quality of life in rural