Solutions for American agriculture |

Solutions for American agriculture

Rep. Adrian Smith, Third District Nebraska

As many of you know, this harvest season has been a tough one for Third District farmers. Arid conditions across Nebraska contributed to an expedited harvest completion and severely diminished yields. Ongoing drought has taken its toll, and yields for crops such as corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and sorghum are expected to be down significantly from last year. As consumers face record inflation at the grocery store and we’re seeing global food insecurity, we must do what we can to reduce barriers, not add them, for Nebraska farmers to feed and fuel America and the world.

Rather than solving problems facing the agriculture community, policies put forward by the Biden administration have exacerbated them. The uncertainty and high costs surrounding equipment and fertilizer supply chains – and our nation’s lowest diesel inventory since 2008 – could, and should, be addressed by supporting and not overregulating American manufacturing, negotiating new trade opportunities for producers, and unleashing domestic energy production. 

The administration’s negligence of international trade opportunities is inexcusable in a time when adverse conditions make trade even more critical for our producers. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently doubled down on plans for an embargo on biotech corn imports, threatening to cripple the No. 2 export market for American corn growers. The Mexico biotech corn ban is exactly the sort of situation the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement dispute settlement mechanism was designed to address. As I have mentioned in several letters to the administration as well as in hearings and meetings with the U.S. Trade Representative, President Biden cannot just sit back. He must use the tools in his arsenal to demand accountability and demonstrate the value strong trade agreements bring to our economy.

As we look for additional trade opportunities to benefit American producers and consumers, we should keep our closest allies — like the United Kingdom — top of mind. I enjoyed welcoming Secretary of State for International Trade, Kemi Badenoch, to Capitol Hill. We had a frank and productive discussion about the opportunities closer trade ties between the U.S. and the UK would bring, and the obstacles we face to get there. I look forward to working together to grow the trade relationship between our nations.

The administration’s onslaught of burdensome regulations on the agriculture community is another hazard we must guard against. In March, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a rule, “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors” which threatens to saddle producers with overly burdensome reporting standards. Under the proposed rule, small, independent agricultural operations may be required to record and disclose greenhouse gas emissions involved in the production supply chains of publicly traded companies. Because of the overwhelming compliance burden this would place on family farms and ranches, I am a cosponsor of the Protect Farmers from the SEC Act which would exclude agriculture from the SEC’s requirements.

While the Biden administration has consistently discouraged domestic fuel production by raising regulatory barriers, it stands to reason we now face a shortage of diesel fuel. Nebraskans are paying $1.53 or 44 percent more per gallon of diesel than they were a year ago. An all-of-the-above domestic energy production approach can simultaneously fortify national security and increase abundance for our allies by maximizing energy independence in a time of global instability. We need government to get out of the way.

The agriculture industry is facing numerous challenges, but I’m encouraged now that Republicans will take control of the House majority in the 118th Congress. In January, we will immediately begin the work needed to get our country back on track. We will conduct oversight of the Biden administration while moving policy solutions to strengthen critical supply chains, ensure the United States is a global leader on trade, and foster domestic energy production to achieve energy dominance. These are critical pillars of House Republicans’ Commitment to America agenda, and I’m eager to get to work.

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