Every year the President stands before Congress and the nation to highlight the top priorities for the year. Over the past decade one of the most memorable and impacting State of the Union addresses for agriculture came in 2006 when President George W. Bush spoke of the nation's addiction to oil and it significantly spurred ethanol demand.
This year's talk from President Barack Obama is unlikely to have the true revitalization ability as Bush's talk in 2006, but some buzz words put the raise bar as to whether or not we can see some progress on top issues.
Obama called on Congress to divert oil subsidies worth $4 billion to renewable energy. Obama also pledged to increase funding for clean energy in his 2012 budget to $8 billion, or about a third more than in 2011.
“The 25x’25 Alliance commends President Obama for his foresight and the prominence he has given to the goal of producing 80% or America’s electricity with clean energy by 2035,” said Read Smith, co-chairman of the alliance’s national steering committee. “With the vision of meeting 25 percent of our nation’s total energy needs with renewables from the land, the 25x’25
Obama said before he took office he made it clear that "we would enforce our trade agreements" and would only sign deals that "keep faith with American workers and promote American jobs."
Obama asked for passage of the South Korea Free Trade Agreement which was finalized last month. In his speech he said it would support at least 70,000 American jobs. "This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor; Democrats and Republicans, and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible," Obama said.
Tuesday American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman testified before the
Once fully implemented, the
Stallman referenced the billions of dollars being lost in exports to competitors because of the stalled agreements. For example, from 2000-2009, the Chilean wine market share in
A recently completed
The grade probably isn't surprising to rural
Obama called for redoubled efforts in rebuilding infrastructure, putting Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. "We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what's best for the economy, not politicians," he said.
Lofty promise, we'll see how it plays out in Congress where those pet projects actually originate.
Rural internet access
South Korean homes now have greater internet access than we do, noted Obama.
Rural broadband access has been billed as achievable for the past several years. But yet, we're still years away from success.
Obama again tried to set an ambitious goal, calling for 98% of all Americans to have high-speed wireless coverage within the next five years. "This isn’t just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of
It's no secret that regulations have increased significantly under the watch of Obama. For farmers this mainly has come under the umbrella of the Environmental Protection Agency. But even the latest discussions by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack with organic and non-GE interests over the approval of biotech alfalfa questions the Administration's ability to keep regulations science-based.
Obama said in order to "reduce barriers to growth and investment" he's ordered a review of government regulations.
"When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people," he said.
So let's see which ones are billed as "safeguards to protect the American people" and whether that matches up with how rural