PRESS RELEASE from Obama for America
September 18, 2008

Agricultural Leaders Endorse Barack Obama for President
On 60th Anniversary of Truman’s Speech in Iowa on the American Farmer, Iowa and National Farmers and Senior Agricultural Officials Announce Support for Obama

Des Moines, Iowa —U.S. Senator Barack Obama’s campaign today announced the endorsement of 25 former and current leaders of the National Farmers Union (NFU), including the personal endorsement of the NFU President and Vice President, along with several other rural leaders, farmers and current and former agricultural officials from across the country.   This list also includes prominent Iowans such as: Jack Kintzle of Coggon, Iowa, former President of the National Corn Growers; Bob Soukup and Tom Grau, former State Executive Directors of Farm Service Agency of USDA; and Chris Peterson, President of Iowa Farmers Union. 

These endorsements come on the 60th Anniversary of President Harry Truman’s historic speech in Dexter, Iowa on the American farmer.  That speech, delivered on September 18, 1948, was given during Truman’s “Whistle Stop” campaign tour, and is regarded as one of the first major addresses regarding modern farm policy.

These endorsements come from agricultural leaders from across the political spectrum, representing almost all of the 50 states. Among the supporters are 25 current and former leaders of the Farmers Union, including Tom Buis, President of the National Farmers Union, six former Presidents of the National Corn Growers Association, including Fred Yoder and Leon Corzine, 22 current and former State Directors of Agriculture, including Roger Johnson, President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and 38 former State Executive Directors of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency (FSA).

Senator Barack Obama said, “I am humbled to receive this support from those that know America’s farmers best.  Many of the issues facing rural America are the same that we are all facing, and I am determined to ensure that we do all that we can to support this key industry.  If we fail rural America, we fail all of America.”

Barack Obama has spent his career leading on issues that matter to our family farmers and rural America, and he has a plan to strengthen the rural economy, bring affordable health care to all Americans, invest in renewable sources of energy while creating millions of jobs, and protect the farm safety net.  John McCain has repeatedly opposed investments for our family farmers and our rural economy.  He not only opposed the 2008 Farm Bill, but he said he would veto it in a ‘New York Minute.’ He has repeatedly come out against federal support for ethanol, an incredibly important economic engine that provides for value-added agriculture and helps wean our nation off of foreign oil.

Former leaders of the National Corn Growers Association stated that, “On nearly every issue important to growers, Senator Obama has been a leading advocate while his opponent Senator McCain has actively fought against our priorities for the future.”   

The leaders of the National Farmers Union highlighted Senator Obama’s superior record supporting independent producers against the pressures of anti-competitive business practices that work against family farmers.  Their letter also stated that, “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.”

The State Executive Directors of FSA, a group of individuals who have expertise managing critical farm and conservation programs, said that “Senator Obama believes production agriculture is a key part of the rural and American economy and supports a safety net that mitigates producer risk, fair trade and increased spending on agriculture research.”

The letter from the former leaders of the National Corn Growers Association is available here

The letter from the State Executive Directors of Farm Service Agency is available here

The letter from the current and former leaders of the National Farmers Union is available here

The letter from current and former State Directors of Agriculture is available here


September 18, 2008
Jenni Lee