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By Staff | Aug 5, 2016

DTN reported that members of 12 ag groups met with representatives of the Clinton campaign and discussed ag issues. That would have been a good meeting to be part of.

The groups were not identified so it is difficult to tell the value of the meeting. The partisan divide extends to ag groups, too. It has been apparent to everyone that ag issues are not high on the list of concerns of candidates. In part, that is because they are often not high on the list of reasons why farmers will vote for a candidate.

Partisanship and other issues often trump ag issues for farmers. Politicians do not bother with things that do not change votes. If farmers don’t vote relative to their economic interests, no one else is going to care about those interests.

The Clinton campaign claimed to have met with rural leaders from the beginning of the campaign, but I doubt they were talking about commercial ag leaders but more like ICCI.

My impression is that the HSUS, Chipotles, Ben and Jerrys, Whole Foods, and DMWW are the Clinton ag advisors.

I see them as anti-CAFO, more anti-Monsanto than pro-biotechnology and pro-Foodie. They may meet with ag trade groups and associations, but I am skeptical of any positive impact.

There are no people with traditional ag interests imbedded in these campaigns.

Ag groups waited on the political parties to designate their nominees before engaging the candidates on most ag issues which ceded too much to the political parties. No wonder the lack of interest in ag issues that has been expressed by the campaigns, is now concerning them.

It doesn’t do ag any good to wait and have the parties nominate poor ag candidates.

One example is that the National Pork Producers Council should have been heavily involved much earlier, supporting pro-trade candidates as now there are none. The ethanol industry was the only ag-focused groups to engage in the political campaign and despite other flaws, both the designated nominees are pro-ethanol.

The group meeting the Clinton campaign was pro-TPP and wanting to establish why trade and trade agreements are so important to agriculture. We do have two pro-ethanol candidates and that is the extent of where they share sentiment that will help ag.

They are both anti-trade so they share sentiment at odds with the interests of ag, too.

The groups attempted to meet with the Trump campaign without any luck getting a response. The Trump campaign essentially doesn’t exist yet at the kind of level the Democrats are operating at so there is no one to communicate with.

The Trump campaign is still hiring and funding. Unless you talked to Trump himself it is doubtful that talking ag issues with a subordinate would accomplish anything anyway. There is no policy unless Trump approves it. I really doubt that there is anyone in his campaign that has any depth of acumen to respond to ag issues.

I think it was Jack Kennedy who told his ag secretary that he didn’t want to hear anything about ag interests from anyone else but him. He essentially wanted him to take care of it.

My impression is that Donald may eventually adopt such a stance. I have no idea who he would appoint as ag secretary. I do have an idea who Hillary would appoint as ag secretary and that scares me. DTN says that they received no response from attempts to contact the Trump campaign either.

I believe that there was an opportunity for ag groups to engage with the candidates during the Iowa primary campaign and they blew it. In the past, the parties used to nominate “popular” candidates and this time neither of the designated nominees could be described as “popular” according to their high unfavorable polling results.

They are both very unpopular candidates in general which will result in a polarized result no matter the outcome. Ag issues frankly, get lost in this mess at the presidential level. I think that we will be more dependent on our congressional representatives to carry water for us.

Unfortunately the lack of focus on ag issues is apparent there, too.

John Phipps of the U.S. Farm Report is pretty well known. He was asked to comment on the presidential candidates by a regular viewer and correspondent.

Phipps responded, “I think it is important to avoid microscoping this election and limiting our focus on agriculture.

Farm policy might get a few sound bites during campaign stops in Iowa or possibly Wisconsin, but even that seems unlikely. The farm vote simply doesn’t matter as much, and farmers themselves seem likely to vote based on other reasons.

While ag has much at stake, farmers seem to be willing to ignore these hazards in favor of other perceived threats: the makeup of the Supreme Court, regulatory burdens, and various Constitutional fears.”

My point has been the farm vote doesn’t matter as much because it hasn’t mattered as much to farmers in how they vote. If farmers don’t care about ag issues enough to impact their vote why would they matter to others?

This election matchup is the worst that I have ever seen in my lifetime from candidates over ag issues. #BothBadforAg.

The largest group of voters now rejects affiliation with either party. The idea that we have to choose between unacceptable candidates chosen by Republicans and Democrats is bogus.

I think that Republicans and Democrats did such a horrible job of choosing candidates to be president this time that they can no longer be trusted with the responsibility.

Instead of moving to the middle like in most elections, both candidates this time are going to stay polarizing requiring the middle to choose an extreme.

I won’t do it.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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