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More Carrots, Less Sticks: How D.C. is Preventing Farmers From Feeding the World

By Danny Kushmer
June, 2016

American Farm

In 1835, Alex de Tocqueville, a French political thinker and historian known for his works Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution wrote, “The greatness of America lies in her ability to repair her faults.” But, how do we repair our faults within the current political discourse?


Today we feel a loss of security, control, and hope. Our leaders in Washington D.C. continue to believe they hold the carrot and stick allowing them to pick winners and losers but our forefathers believed otherwise.

Legislation That's Negatively Impacting Farmers

Our founders believed the role of government was to create an environment in which the private sector was unbridled and could thrive, every American would have a chance to achieve his or her full economic potential.

However, for the American Farmer, here are just a few faults lawmakers in Washington D.C. refuse to repair:

  • Proponents of mandatory labeling for products that include genetically modified ingredients have pushed their anti-science agenda in Congress to the detriment of farmers and consumers alike.

  • The nation's H-2A visa program for agricultural workers remains inefficient and impractical for most farmers.

  • Compliance with the Affordable Care Act remains confusing and difficult for small seasonal employers such as farmers and ranchers.

  • EPA is increasingly restricting pesticides and herbicides without proper scientific evidence for its positions.

  • The U.S. Forest Service recently proposed that ranchers surrender their water rights in exchange for the ability to graze on federal lands. The USFS later withdrew the proposal, but this remains a topic of discussion among environmental groups.

Testifying on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Illinois Farm Bureau, Richard Guebert, Jr. encouraged Congress to help farm and ranch families endure what observers agree will be a difficult year. While Mr. Guebert’s testimony is sound, let’s take it a little further and ask Congress to “let farmers farm."

Farmhouse-american farm

Feeding Nine Billion People

In 2050 there will be 9 billion people on the planet. How will we feed them?

From 1960 to 2000 the world’s population doubled from 3 to 6 billion, but our annual production of grain rose even faster, nearly tripling over the same period. However, statistics in National Geographic journalist Joel K Bourne’s book, The End of Plenty, suggest we are fast approaching the point at which we will be crunched by numbers.

Global demand for food will more than double over the coming half-century, as we add over 3 billion people.

By then we will eat around 600 quadrillion calories a day, which is the equivalent of feeding 14 billion people at today’s nutritional levels. American farmers are known for feeding the world but will our current climate of over-regulation allow the farmer to stay ahead of the population growth?

If we are to repair our own faults, then Washington D.C. must get out of the way and allow for an environment in which the private sector (the farmer) can once again thrive.

Learn more about how Highland Precision Ag is working to empower agribusiness owners.