Congressman wants regulations eased on American agriculture to help with disrupted food supply
America’s farmers have been integral to our survival throughout our nation’s history – a fact the Covid-19 pandemic reiterated as American producers worked tirelessly to keep our shelves stocked. Now, in the face of the invasion of Ukraine – America’s farmers and their importance will once again be evident on the world’s stage.
Ukraine is a major exporter of agricultural products – especially wheat and other grains. In fact, under normal conditions, they supply 11.5% of the world’s wheat. Over the last four years, America imported hundreds of millions worth of agricultural products from Ukraine. The disruption of the global food supply caused by Russia’s invasion could lead to civil unrest and food insecurity – or worse.
Our nation has an incredible capacity to grow and produce food that could help offset the food shortages Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens. Now more than ever, the focus of America’s policymakers must be on bolstering American agricultural production to feed Americans and the rest of the world. This would seem like a clear and distinct bipartisan priority. Unfortunately, the urgency with which I believe this situation must be addressed is not shared by my Democrat counterparts on the Agriculture Committee.
Last week we held a hearing – not on Ukraine, not on aiding farmers suffering from fuel prices and input supply chain challenges, not on the impacts of poor state policies on farmers. Instead, we held a hearing on the Democratic Party’s misguided and unrealistic climate priorities.
It was the President and his administration’s radical and unrealistic climate policies that led us to the energy crisis we face now. Now, it is the administration and Democrats in Congress’ radical and unrealistic policies that are wasting precious committee time, despite clear and convincing evidence we should be focused on policies to remove regulatory burdens and bolster our food supply.
America’s farmers are under increasing pressure and narrowing margins. High fuel prices from the bad policies of this administration threaten operations as we head into the planting season in New York. Inflationary pressure on inputs threatens the already slim margins our farmers operate within. These challenges are compounded by a recent decision by the New York State Farm Laborers Wage Board to lower the overtime threshold which threatens the long-term viability of farming in New York.
These are very real threats that could bankrupt and handcuff one of our oldest industries at a time when we need them most. I’ve taken action to push for better trade deals, more domestic energy production, rules and regulations on trucking and shipping that benefit agriculture, easier access to fertilizers from other countries, and ending vaccine mandates to ease these burdens.
Farming and a steady supply of American-produced food are critical to our national security – now more than ever. The shortsighted, and quite frankly, out-of-touch priorities of the administration and Democrats in Congress need an immediate course correction. Our focus in the Agriculture Committee must be squarely placed on supporting American agricultural producers and processors.
Congressman Chris Jacobs
Jacobs represents the eight-county 27th Congressional District that includes Orleans County.