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Ex-USDA Official Calls Out Biden Administration’s “Not Very American” Farming Policies

A former USDA official has voiced criticism of the Biden administration’s regulations concerning farming, highlighting concerns about the impact on agricultural practices and tobacco farmers.

Ray Starling, who served as chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, expressed particular dismay over water policies, labor access, FDA regulations, and proposed restrictions on menthol cigarettes, asserting that these measures are detrimental to the farming industry.

Water Policy Challenges

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Starling emphasized the significant challenges posed by EPA regulations regarding water, which have been perceived as an “attack on farmers.”

Despite a Supreme Court ruling limiting federal jurisdiction over bodies of water, the Biden administration continues to pursue policies expanding EPA oversight, exacerbating concerns among farmers.

Guest Worker Visa Program Hurdles

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Accessing labor through the guest worker visa program, vital for American agriculture, has become increasingly difficult under the Biden administration.

Starling noted the administration’s efforts to make the program more cumbersome and expensive for farmers, hindering their ability to maintain operations effectively.

Impact of Regulatory Burden

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Starling highlighted the extensive regulatory burden imposed by the Biden administration, particularly concerning FDA regulations on tobacco products like menthol cigarettes.

Proposed Bans May Lead to Black Market Activity

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Proposed bans on menthol, previously unsuccessful in states like California, raise concerns about economic repercussions and the proliferation of black market activity.

Challenges for Tobacco Farmers

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The proposed menthol ban poses a significant threat to tobacco farmers, impacting a $2.4 billion industry and potentially fueling black market activity.

Starling criticized the regulatory approach as counterproductive and warned of adverse consequences for both farmers and consumers.

Federal Mandates and GMOs

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Starling raised concerns about federal mandates regarding GMO crops, highlighting a departure from traditional agricultural practices where farmers had the autonomy to select crop varieties.

He emphasized the need to preserve farmers’ choices and questioned the rationale behind restrictive regulations.

Struggles of Farming Families

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The regulatory landscape, coupled with economic challenges and demographic shifts, threatens the viability of farming operations.

Excess Regulations Could Force Farmers Out of Business

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Starling warned that excessive regulations could force many farmers, particularly small and mid-sized operations, out of business, contributing to a decline in agricultural diversity and sustainability.

White House Response

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In response to criticisms, a White House spokesperson defended the Biden administration’s efforts to support farmers through financial relief programs and executive actions.

The spokesperson highlighted record agricultural exports and substantial investments aimed at bolstering rural economies and assisting distressed farmers.

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