Addressing the Future of Farming and Rural Life Conference in Madison, Congressman Ron Kind (D-LaCrosse) said there are several areas where the federal government can help.
For one, he says, farmers can be given the tools to be good stewards of their own land. Helping them find ways to handle fertilizer runoff and waste in order to keep water quality high. Also to protect woods and lakes for recreational use that brings in millions to rural areas in hunting, fishing and camping revenue.
Kind also wants to update the subsidy system in the new Farm Bill because currently, he says, too many large payments are going to large corporate farms outside the state. And those huge subsidies here and in Europe are restricting US agricultural exports.
He's in favor of the new biofuel trends but says we need to be careful. He wants to carefully watch how much sensitive land is brought back into the system just to support the additional need for corn.
Kind says this generation must find alternative energy sources and keep efforts and revenue local so it doesn't get taken over by the big corporations.
Kind hopes the federal government will join the state in making affordable health care available to all, especially in farm and rural communities, by forming pools that will keep costs down.