Special Edition: Candidates' Takes on Food Policy

Photo by Annie Spratt

Photo by Annie Spratt

Although the media has chosen to primarily focus on more mainstream issues related to the Presidential candidates, the Saltshaker team was interested in finding out exactly how the election could impact the food world.

Using information provided by The Huffington Post, Ballotpedia, and Agri-Pulse, we were able to compile the overall view for the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian candidates. It is important to note, regardless of the proposed initiatives, our current Congress is dominated by the GOP, so this could impact actual change. Just another note of the importance of all of the candidates—federal, state and local—on the ballot.

We looked at the food-related stances of the three major candidates: Hillary Clinton, Democrat; Donald Trump, Republican; and Gary Johnson, Libertarian. We focused on analyzing each candidate’s opinions on food security, farm subsidies, farm workers and immigration, antibiotics for animals, GMO foods, energy and climate change, and supporting new farmers.

Food Security

Hillary Clinton: Supports the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to provide fresh food to residents and encourage local sales to businesses, similar to her “Farm to Fork” initiative in the state of New York. Believes cutting food stamps will hurt kids in families that deserve an “equal chance to succeed”. Interested in strengthening local food systems through doubling funding for the Farmers Market Promotion Program and the Local Food Promotion Program.

Donald Trump: Supports abolishing food stamps because he believes that the system is fraudulent and that “95% of America’s poor parents say that their children never suffer even a day of hunger.”

Gary Johnson: Supports state governments taking over assistance programs and providing them with grants to set the determine how to support the programs and establish rules related to each program.

Farm Subsidies

Hillary Clinton: Supported an amendment in 2007 (HR 2419 – Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008) to limit “amount of subsidies that married couples deriving a portion of their income from farming or related activities could receive.”

Donald Trump: No position available.

Gary Johnson:  No position available.

Farm Workers & Immigration

Hillary Clinton: Supported the enactment of a comprehensive immigration reform acknowledging the contributions made by immigrant and migrant workers in agriculture, stating that immigrant workers are critical to U.S. agriculture from “orchards in California to processing plants in Iowa.”

Donald Trump: No position available on farm workers. Supports immigration reform that prioritizes job offers to American citizens rather than other valid work status and has proposed reforming legal immigration, according to his campaign website.

Gary Johnson: No comment on farm workers. Supports the diversity of immigrants that become productive members of society. Johnson is interested in making a more efficient work visa system, and creating incentives for non-citizens to pay taxes and obtain proof of employment.

Antibiotics in Farm Animals

Hillary Clinton: Per The Human Society, Clinton has supported efforts to stop the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals and has supported efforts to prevent the USDA from buying chickens fed certain antibiotics for use in America’s school lunch program.

Donald Trump: No position available.

Gary Johnson: No position available.

GMO Foods

Hillary Clinton: Supported companies like Monsanto in the past and believes there are benefits to using the seeds and products because of the “drought-resistant” qualities and believes it is a way to feed the world.

Donald Trump: Provided commentary through Twitter on his former Republican nominee contender Ben Carson, mentioning that Monsanto corn is the reason Iowa residents voted for Ben Carson.

Gary Johnson: Supports public safety, including food ingredients, and believes that certain ingredients can cause harm and that food should be a matter of “basic safety” instead of “preference or convenience.”

Energy & Climate Change

Hillary Clinton: Supports the continued advancement of renewable fuels and clean energy as a source for new jobs and cutting carbon pollution. Clinton plans to have 500 million solar panels installed by the end of her first term.

Donald Trump: Supports the use of natural gas reserves as a form of energy that is cleaner and more efficient. Trump will create job growth by increasing fracking to create more domestic oil. If elected, Trump will renew the Keystone XL Pipeline Project, withdraw the Paris Climate Agreement and reform environmental regulations. Believes there are bigger issues than climate change since it is naturally occurring and not a result of humans.

Gary Johnson: Supports taxing carbon emissions as climate change is a man-made issue but does not support regulations to lower carbon emissions. Believes that the coal industry is bankrupt, so no new coal plants will be built which will assist with eliminating carbon emissions.

Supporting New Farmers

Hillary Clinton: Plans to support the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program, Farmers Market Promotion Program and Local Food Promotion Programs by doubling federal funding. For the these rural communities, she plans to increase federal funding for Head Start and expand healthcare in rural areas and supports college tuition student debt relief programs to encourage higher education.

Donald Trump: No position available.

Gary Johnson: No position available.