The mantra of the day is jobs, jobs, jobs. We have heard this repeatedly over and over by the politicians, media and the unemployed.
Some businesses such as Starbucks are getting creative with the job market. It recently announced that it would collect donations of $5 or more from customers to stimulate the U.S. job growth through its “Jobs for USA” program.
The President jumped on board in early August with his American Jobs Act, when he stated “strong rural communities are keys to a stronger America.” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, echoed the President’s words by asserting that “rural America makes significant contributions to the security, prosperity, and economic strength of our country.”
I agree wholeheartedly with both of these statements by our leaders. Agriculture has been one of the bedrocks to our nation’s economy (trade), growth, stability and security ever since we became a country and will continue to be a leader for our county’s needs in the future.
As the Obama administration rolled out its American Jobs Act, the President specifically addressed the rural communities’ challenges, but also recognized the present economic potential in the agricultural community. He established the White House Rural Council to Strengthen Rural Communities. The President indicated the purpose was “to make sure we’re working across government to strengthen rural communities and promote economic growth.”
The Rural Council is focusing on job creation and economic development by increasing the flow of capital to rural areas, promoting innovation, expanding digital and physical networks and expanding educational opportunities.
Again, I obviously support any efforts to assist the agricultural community, but I am concerned when government tries to do too much. For example, shortly after the creation of the Rural Council the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made a bold, but odd statement in claiming “unemployment checks create jobs.”
This statement was later confirmed by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack when he went on cable TV to make the case that food stamps are job creators or a “economic stimulus.” Vilsack indicated that for every dollar spent on food stamps it creates $1.84 in production.
If this is true, why aren’t we seeing record job creation?
This rationale and ideas really raises red flags for me as the Administration moves into the agricultural community with its Rural Council initiative and with the farm bill looming. Clearly, agriculture is a major economic driver in Kansas as well as our nation. Family farming is not only a job creator – it is part of our nation’s heritage and part of the solution for a future success.
One way to create jobs is to have a strong agriculture base. To make that happen, government should not hamstring farmers and ranchers with unnecessary regulations, taxes, trade barriers and silly discussions that don’t really assist the agricultural community.
Maybe the politicians should allow the agricultural community to do what it does best – produce the safest, most nutritious and most sustainable agricultural products in the world.