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AGRICULTURE REPORT - Candidates State Their Positions on Farm Policy - 2004-10-18

Broadcast: October 19, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Recently, the American Farm Bureau Federation asked the major presidential candidates about farm issues. Here are some of the answers by President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry.

The Farm Bureau asked what policies the candidates would propose to strengthen farming.

President Bush said the farm bill of two thousand two had provided payments to farmers when prices were low. The Department of Agriculture says the bill has provided farmers with more than fifteen thousand million dollars.

Senator Kerry said he would seek fair trade policies. He also said he would expand agriculture markets to include new kinds of products. Mister Kerry said he supported financial protection against low prices and other risks for farmers.

The Farm Bureau asked how the candidates would change America’s energy policy to meet energy needs while moving toward renewable energy sources in the future.

Senator Kerry proposed a Clean Fuels Partnership that would bring together government, agriculture and industry. The goal would be to have twenty percent of America’s motor fuel produced from American agricultural products by the year twenty twenty. One example is ethanol, a fuel made from grain.

President Bush said he proposed a bill to provide four thousand million dollars in lower taxes for renewable energy businesses. But that bill has not passed in Congress.

The Farm Bureau asked if the candidates would seek greater acceptance of biotechnology products.

President Bush said he opposes identifying genetically engineered food with labels. He said the government is aiding farmers who do not want to grow such crops.

Senator Kerry said he would seek the acceptance of safe agricultural products around the world. He said nations should not use the issue of biotechnology to unfairly close their markets to American exports.

Both candidates were asked why farmers should vote them.

President Bush said he understands the problems of farmers. And he added it was important to pass more tax cuts and to open new markets.

Senator Kerry said he wants to help American family farmers compete in the international agricultural economy. He said he would fight for fair trade and protect farmers from risks like floods and lack of rain.

This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Mario Ritter. This is Gwen Outen.