Farmer Leaders Endorse Barack Obama for President

September 18, 2008

Dear Senator Obama,

We are writing to endorse your candidacy for President of the United States. As present and past agriculture leaders, farmers, ranchers, and rural advocates we understand the importance of electing a President who supports and understands the challenges we face in rural America. Your record in the US Senate on rural issues has been outstanding. You have stood shoulder to shoulder with farmers and rural America on numerous issues. We appreciate your support of rural America in the past, and believe your vision for rural America is something that is desperately needed in the White House in the future.

Never before have the two nominees for President offered a clearer choice of who is friendly to rural America, and who is not. Your support for important policies for rural communities and farmers such as the farm bill, renewable energy, fair trade, Country of Origin labeling, and improving rural infrastructure and rural health stands in stark contrast to your opponent's record. Senator McCain has voted time and again against rural America as he opposed the farm bill, advocated for suspending the Renewable Fuels Standard, and voted against agricultural appropriations and disaster aid. Where you stand in support of farmers and the fundamental importance of a safety net that protects against weather events and market disruptions, your opponent has actively criticized these vital risk management tools.

Just this year we witnessed how difficult it is to pass important farm policy when the President of the United States is opposed to the majority in the country and in Congress. It took a long time, several votes, and even two veto overrides to enact the new farm bill. While we prevailed with your help and overwhelming bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, your opponent publicly announced his opposition and the fact he would veto the farm bill if he were President. We do not need more of same!

America's farmers and ranchers provide the safest, most abundant and affordable food in the world. Increasingly, we are helping fuel our nation too, reducing our reliance on foreign oil. Agriculture is one of the central pillars of our nation’s strength; our national security depends on food security. But America and rural America is at a crossroads. We need a President who understands rural America, a President who will stands up for rural America, and a President who is willing to provide the leadership to ensure rural America's challenges are addressed. We are confident that you are that person.

Tom Buis, Indiana/Washington, DC
Claudia Svarstad, Colorado
Dave Frederickson, Minnesota
Leland Swenson, Colorado
Cy Carpenter, Minnesota
Alan Bergman, North Dakota
Bryan Sharp, Illinois
Gordon Stine, Illinois
Arthur and Jan Douglas, Utah
Doug Peterson, Minnesota
Chris Petersen, Iowa
Donn Teske, Kansas
Doug Sombke, South Dakota
Jim Benham, Indiana
Jim Davis, Washington
Joaquin Contente, California
John Hansen, Nebraska
Kent Peppler, Colorado
Larry Breech, Pennsylvania
Marilyn Momber, Michigan
Rob Wells, Alaska
Roger Wise, Ohio
Russ Kremer, Missouri
Sue Beitlich, Wisconsin
Wes Sims, Texas
Dave Velde, Minnesota
Dennis Rosen, Wisconsin
Joe Augusto, California