Blog: The 2020 Election: How the Next Presidential Administration Could Shape Agricultural Policy

The 2020 Election: How the Next Presidential Administration Could Shape Agricultural Policy

By: Michelle Sutton, NAWG 2020 Fall Intern

The 2020 election is quickly approaching! As citizens in a democracy, it is not only a privilege but a responsibility to vote. Furthermore, it is extremely important to make an informed decision when voting. In such a critical time for the agriculture industry, it is important to understand where our presidential candidates stand on agricultural issues.

President Donald Trump:
“My administration is fighting for the American farmer and has been fighting for the farmer and rancher every single day”. – The White House

Vice President Joe Biden:
“As president, Biden will build a pathway to the middle class for rural Americans, in rural America.” – Biden Campaign

Here are some highlights of the agricultural policy positions of Republican candidate, President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden:

 President Donald Trump (R)

  • On June 6, 2019, President Trump signed the disaster relief bill that provided $19 billion in assistance to states and territories hit by flooding, hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters, including farmers hit by a delayed planting season.
  • President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized the production of industrial Hemp, expanded crop insurance, doubled how much farmers could borrow, and helped open new markets for farmers.
  • The current Administration has invested $900 million toward improved and preserved rural electric infrastructure.
  • The current Administration has expanded markets for U.S. wheat exporters in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided more than $1 billion to improve access to health care for rural communities.
  • The Trump Administration distributed more than 5 million food boxes in an effort to support American farmers and families who have been affected by the Coronavirus.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D)

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden is looking to revitalize rural economies by developing regional food systems, strengthen anti-trust enforcement, invest in green infrastructure, expand bio-based manufacturing, and promote ethanol and the next generation of biofuels.
  • The Biden Administration plans to invest $20 billion in rural broadband infrastructure and triple funding to expand broadband access in rural areas.
  • The Biden Administration will prioritize investing in land grant universities’ agriculture research programs.
  • The Biden Administration plans to invest in diverse farmers to build a more diverse agriculture industry and will ensure USDA assistance to anyone who wants to farm.
  • As part of his campaign, former Vice President Biden is proposing a large expansion of an existing conservation program aimed at paying farmers to adopt environmentally friendly practices, especially those that help sequester carbon in the soil.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden wants to offer more support to beginning farmers and plans to expand upon the Obama-Biden Administration’s microloan program for new farmers.

 Side by Sides of Both Candidates Positions on Trade, Water Policy, Environmental Regulations, and Climate Change

Trade Policies
Trump v. Biden

The Trump Administration has been able to provide a total of $28 billion in aid for farmers who have been subjected to unfair trade policies. Throughout his term, Trump has negotiated new deals with Korea, Japan, and China and established USMCA. Moving forward, he plans to finalize a trade agreement between the U.S and the U.K., hoping to gain some ground on making the EU a more fair-trade market.

The Biden Administration would pursue a trade policy that works well for American farmers. Former Vice President Biden wants to focus on the issues of global overcapacity and foreign state-owned enterprises and has publicly stated that foreign cheating will not be allowed under his presidency.

 Water Policy
Trump v. Biden

In 2020, the Trump Administration finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, also known as the re-write of WOTUS. Back in 2015, NAWG opposed the water regulations and clarity around the new regulations so farmers could better understand which waters are under jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act and which are not.

Former Vice President Biden wants to invest in new water infrastructure, repair sewer systems, and integrate water quality monitoring. If elected, the Biden Administration would review the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to make sure it protects and benefits all citizens. Biden also promises to work closely with agricultural producers to ensure clean water for rural communities.

Trump v. Biden

The Trump Administration made deregulation a foundation of their plans to boost the economy. President Trump has stated that he will only support regulations that are common sense, protect the environment, and prioritize human success and economic growth.

The Biden Administration hopes to utilize the experience of experts and scientists to establish regulations. Former Vice President Biden promises to keep a transparent approach when deliberating the costs and benefits of regulations to make sure the regulations set have positive outcomes.

 The Environment and Climate
Trump v. Biden

President Trump wants to make sure that any new climate requirements are based on science and do not cause a tighter profit margin for America’s producers. Programs that were included in the 2018 Farm Bill help farmers with conservation of natural resources, preservation of water quality, and enhancement of soil health.

Under the Biden Administration, plans include making America the first agriculture producer in the world to achieve net-zero emissions. Biden wants to ensure that our buildings, water, transportation, and energy infrastructure can withstand the impacts of climate change.


Additional Resources:

Land and Agriculture. President Donald J. Trump’s Accomplishments.

The United States Government. Remarks by President Trump at the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention and Trade Show. The White House.

Rural Americans for Biden. Joe Biden for President: Official Campaign Website. (2020, September 11).