Farming a National Security Issue? Former General Agrees

Farm Policy

2/17/2011 12:05 PM

I was reading my e-mails this week and this interesting tidbit came across, courtesy of the website, Apparently, Gen. Wesley Clark, the former U.S. Army and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO as well as a 2004 presidential candidate, has an interest in farming. So much so, he sees it as a critical national security issue and wrote about it on the Kansas City Star website.
Here is more:

Gen. Wesley Clark: Farmers on Frontline of National Security 
WASHINGTON — U.S. agriculture is essential to America's security, yet the industry is under attack, General Wesley Clark wrote in an article that appeared yesterday, on the Kansas City Star website.
According to Clark, who was general of the United States Army and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, "America's political leaders must take appropriate measures today to ensure that farmers do not become endangered species tomorrow — a loss we cannot afford.
"If we cannot feed, fuel and clothe ourselves, then we cannot defend ourselves," he explained. "If this one bright spot in our economy is choked off, then recession recovery will certainly stall. And, if rural America falters, we open the floodgate to even more fuel produced by nation states that do not share our values and strategic interests-and our country is less secure."
Larry Combest, the former chairman of the House Agriculture and Intelligence Committees, applauded Clark for shedding light on such an important issue, especially as new policy challenges emerge and threaten farmers' ability to feed a growing U.S. and world population.
Among the threats Combest identified: tight farmer and rancher profit margins, overregulation by the Environmental Protection Agency, attacks on new yield-improving innovation and technologies, and attempts to weaken farm policies that "might already be too weakened to help farmers survive a major price dip or weather catastrophe." 
And there's more than just the country's ability to feed, fuel, and clothe itself at stake, according to Clark's article. There are also 21 million American jobs rooted in agriculture.
During these difficult times, Clark asked America to "think of the 210,000 farms that produce 80 percent of the country's agricultural output as a thin green line standing between prosperity and disaster.
"Simply put, we must hold the thin green line," he concluded.
 Published by The Hand That Feeds U.S. - Chris Torres


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