Monday Roundup: Talking to Rural?

Obama and Romney on education • Candidates don't have much to say about rural policy — or urban either • First a flood on the Missouri, now record low in-flows • No new National Monuments in Montana

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“As they campaign, presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney pretty much ignore rural-specific issues,” Don Davis writes in the Grand Forks (North Dakota) Herald. 

Yes, the candidates like to be pictured in rural settings. Romney announced his candidacy on a New Hampshire farm, Davis notes. Obama held a large event at an Iowa farm museum, but only managed to croak out a few sentences about renewable fuels.

“Neither really mentions rural policy in any meaningful way,” said David Flynn, University of North Dakota Economics Department chairman. “Both candidates clearly miss an opportunity to score some points by showing they understand.”

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, the Minnesota Democrat, agrees. “I think it is going to bring problems to us no matter who wins,” said Peterson, the top-ranking House Agriculture Committee Democrat. “We will just have to deal with it.”

“The challenges in front of rural America are not easy to solve now and the votes are in the urban area,” said Dee Davis, president of the Center for Rural Strategies, a national group that tracks rural issues (and publishes the Daily Yonder).

Cities Aren’t Happy Either — Meanwhile, the New York Times had a long story in its opinion section on how and why the Republicans came to disregard the cities. The graphic to the left is what accompanied the article on the front page of the Times’ Sunday Review section.

“The Republican Party is, more than ever before in its history, an anti-urban party, its support gleaned overwhelmingly from suburban and rural districts — especially in presidential elections,” writes novelist Kevin Baker

What To Do On The River — A Washington University professor makes some suggestions on what could be done along the Missouri River, where “100-year floods” seem to come every ten years or so. 

Among other ideas, Robert Criss says the Missouri should be “deauthorized as a navigation channel.”

Speaking of Floods — Last year the Missouri was flooded. This September, runoff into the Missouri River’s upstream reservoirs dropped to a record low. 

Now instead of releasing water and building floodwalls (the mode of operation in 2011), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will cut back on releases to conserve water.

Mediation at Eastern Livestock — Hundreds of cattle raisers, truckers and veterinarians were given bad checks by by the Eastern Livestock cattle brokerage, before the Indiana company went bankrupt in 2010. So far, no disbursements have been made of Eastern’s assets.

There will be a “global mediation” in Louisville Oct. 9-10. For more information, call the Kentucky Department of Agriculture at (502) 573-0450. 

Candidates on Education — The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss examines what both President Obama and Mitt Romney said about education during last week’s debate. It appears that neither candidate has much of an idea about what is happening in publication education.

Here is Strauss’s take on Romney.  And here she looks at Obama

USDA in Swing States — DTN’s Chris Clayton notes that Agriculture department officials will soon be making a lot of visits and announcements in states that just so happen to be hotly contested in this year’s presidential election. Look for the USDA to be making a splash in states such as Iowa, Ohio and Colorado.

Not Our Sprouts — What happens to a small grower when it is accused — unjustly, it turns out — to have been selling a product tainted with salmonella? The Idaho Statesman visits with Nadine Scharf, whose sprout-growing business was thought to have been the source of a salmonella outbreak last year. 

It’s been a long way back for this family business.

No New Monuments in Montana — Presidents have made a habit of designating public land in Montana to be national monuments near the end of their terms — but not this President. 

Turning more Montana land into National Monuments has been an issue in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Jon Tester and Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg. Rehberg has charged that the Obama administration intends to put more land into National Monuments, which restricts its use by hunters and grazers. 

The White House said Sunday that no designations would be made.

Shameful — The New York Times editorial page notes that last week began with no Farm Bill in place, “a legislative lapse of shameful proportions.” 

The real trouble, according to the Times, comes for dairy farmers. Congress extended most crop protection programs when the old Farm Bill expired at the end of the month. But not the Milk Income Loss Contract Program. The Times writes:

When Congress returns, it needs to make sure that program payments are restored, even before it goes back to work on the farm bill. The Senate has passed its version of the bill, but the House has not. Some House members seem to think they have all the time in the world. Dairy farmers know better. Without the milk program, help, for many of them, will come too late.

 

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