Would farmers back Barack?

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You've probably had your fill of politics already, and the general election hasn't even heated up.

But the recent passage of the Farm Bill, also known as, "The-Policy-Debacle-That-Never-ends,•bCrLf may shed some light on how agriculture interests will vote in November.

Last week in the midst of the Bush farm bill veto, Republican Presidential candidate John McCain made it clear he also would veto the bill, which both conservatives said smacked of pork-barrel politics. (It did, but that's beside the point).

 What did McCain gain from making this statement, other than alienate a small but important segment of the U.S. voting population?

Meanwhile the expected Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, seemed to have no problem with the farm bill. And, he has been doing well in farm states, prompting the question: Would U.S. farmers shed their pro-business ways long enough to back Barack in November?

It's a question posed by Wall Street Journal reporter Corey Boles in yesterday's online edition, and one that bears watching as the candidates jockey for position this summer.

McCain is pro-business and pro-trade, two attributes farmers should love. But he's against farm subsidies, including subsidies for ethanol, a fact that he doesn't hide even when he appears in Iowa where ethanol is king.

Obama, on the other hand, seems more open to using government funds to help communities in need, and rural communities very often fit that bill. Obama supported the quick override of Bush's farm bill veto last week.

Obama appears to support cutting farm payments to large-scale farms in favor of payments to medium and smaller farmers, and there are a lot more of those small and medium-sized guys than large-scale farmers.

McCain's main problem may be that he has shown no willingness to explain exactly what he believes regarding agriculture policies. What's left is a vacuum of information, a dangerous situation for any presidential candidate.

What do you think? Let me know below.


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