Sanders Unveils Plan To Rebuild Rural America

Sanders Unveils Plan To Rebuild Rural America

OSAGE, Iowa – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders today unveiled a comprehensive plan to rebuild and reinvest in rural America. In a speech at the Mitchell County Fairgrounds in Osage, Iowa, Sanders outlined a detailed blueprint to protect farmers from monopolistic agribusiness corporations and climate change, and to focus more federal investments on rural communities that have too often been ignored by Washington. 

“While corporate profits soar in agribusiness, while merger after merger gives even more power to a handful of huge conglomerates, thousands of family farmers are forced off their land every year because the prices they get for their products are lower than the cost of production,” Sanders said. “Tragically, instead of seeing good jobs, education and health care coming into our rural communities, we are far too often seeing desperation and depression – and a terrible increase in suicide and opioid addiction. We need to turn this around.  We cannot create an economy that works for all Americans if we continue to neglect the needs of rural America.”

Much of Sanders’ plan deals with the agriculture sector, which is a primary source of income for one in 5 rural counties across the country. As large agribusiness corporations have been permitted to consolidate and vertically integrate, farmers today now receive the lowest share of consumers’ food dollar in recorded history. Meanwhile, rural communities have been ravaged by pollution. To reverse the trend, Sanders would:

  • Intensify antitrust enforcement to block new monopolistic mergers and ban contract farming
     
  • Protect farmers from predatory patent lawsuits from seed corporations.
     
  • Reform farm subsidies so that the majority aren’t going to giant farms, but to small- and mid-sized farms.
     
  • Restrict foreign ownership of American farmland, which poses economic threats to farmers and also raises national security concerns about the food supply. 
     
  • Stop effectively exempting factory farms from the anti-pollution laws that other large-scale industrial operations face, and take action against corporations whose products are creating herbicide drift and polluting organic farms.

A separate part of Sanders’ plan deals with reinvesting in rural economies and communities. Sanders proposes to increase funding for rural teacher pay and for rural public education including ESL programs, classes for students with disabilities, student transportation and college accredited classes. 

As president, Bernie will pass his recently introduced legislation to increase funding for community health centers and invest more resources in the national health service corps, which extends health care into underserved areas. Sanders also proposes to expand labor and workplace protections for farmworkers and protect them from Trump’s deportation machine.

Read the full plan HERE

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