Through more than three decades of public service, Tom Harkin has been a tireless advocate for rural America. From fighting for family farmers to encouraging Main Street economies, he has worked to ensure the vitality and prosperity of America’s farm communities and rural areas.
This fight continues today. Rural America is uniquely positioned to lead the transition from our country’s costly and dangerous dependence on foreign sources of energy to reliance on energy derived from clean, domestic renewable resources. Tom Harkin has been a leader in promoting renewable sources of energy, such as ethanol, biodiesel and wind power. In addition, Harkin has worked to develop the bioeconomy, pushing for greater market access for biobased products made from crops grown in America’s fields. Products from renewable sources not only promote a healthier environment, but add value to agricultural products and provide a lift for rural economies.
As Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Tom Harkin passed a bipartisan farm bill in 2002 intended to lead U.S. agriculture into the 21st century. This legislation strengthened the farm safety net and put forth a forward-looking array of policy initiatives that would strengthen America’s rural economy, greatly expand assistance for farmers in conserving natural resources and invest in farm-based renewable energy. Now, as Committee Chairman, Tom Harkin is working to ensure these forward-looking initiatives are accessible for U.S. farmers who work on their farms everyday to feed America. Harkin has been fighting against efforts to repeal much of the progress made in the 2002 farm bill in promoting renewable energy, agriculture conservation and rural development.
Harkin has also worked to ensure America’s livestock producers have access to competitive and fair markets, commissioning investigations of the livestock industry and USDA to ensure our nation’s laws are protecting farmers from fraud, abuse and market manipulation. And he remains vigilant to make sure America’s food supply remains the safest in the world. Harkin is working to gain even greater access to the world economy for America’s farmers. Through working to reduce tariffs and export subsidies, and ensuring America’s trade partners are living up to their current trade obligations, he is seeking to increase U.S. agricultural export receipts.
Harkin will continue working to ensure America’s farmers and rural communities are prepared to thrive and succeed in a rapidly changing global economy.