February 25, 2024

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: Bidenomics is Threatening Agriculture

February 25, 2024

Agriculture is the heart and soul of what we do in Nebraska. It’s the backbone of our state’s economy. It’s also essential to our national security. Any threat to our farmers and ranchers is a threat to us all. That’s why it’s unacceptable President Biden has presided over the fastest, biggest decline in farm profitability, ever. The American Farm Bureau Federation recently found farmers’ net income is estimated to drop 25% in 2024. This would be the largest year-to-year dollar drop in recorded history. It should be a wake up call to Washington. Biden’s inflation-driving policies, overregulation, and war on American energy cannot continue.

Rising expenses, declining receipts, and declining exports under Biden mean declining incomes. Stubbornly high inflation caused by Washington’s overspending is driving up costs of production. Total farm expenses are expected to rise another 3.8% to a new record high this year, according to the USDA. Necessary expenses like feed, labor, machinery, and equipment all cost more. Gas and energy cost more. Meanwhile, cash receipts for crops and livestock are expected to decline by 4%. On top of that, we have a record trade deficit for agriculture exports. The International Trade Association reports Nebraska exports of agriculture goods and livestock dropped 35.5% in 2023.

Instead of offering relief, Biden and his army of bureaucrats continue to harass agriculture at every turn. Federal regulatory whiplash is also driving up costs. I’ve questioned some of these bureaucrats at the Committee on Environment and Public Works. They often have no idea what impact their regulations will have. For example, the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule wants to regulate roadside ditches and farm ponds as navigable waters.

To make things worse, the Biden administration has declared war on American energy. The onerous “Good Neighbor Rule” attacks our domestic natural gas industry and raises energy prices. Their detached-from-reality electric vehicle (EV) mandates restrict consumer choice. Instead of turning to biofuels made here in America, EVs make us more reliant on foreign adversaries like China. It is also yet another mandate that fails to account for the practical needs of our agriculture or rural communities. Imagine a world where you would need to pull over for two hours on a 90-degree day to charge an electric truck hauling livestock. 

Just like when I was Governor, I’m fighting to block these illegal actions and provide relief as your U.S. Senator. I voted to block the WOTUS rule and co-sponsor legislation to protect producers from future overreach. I’m leading the charge against the EV mandate and will author legislation to block it if it’s not reversed. I’m pushing for year-round E-15 nationwide. I’m supporting legislation to repeal Biden’s expanded Death Tax, which punishes multi-generational farms, ranches, and businesses. I’m also using my experience as Governor to reform the permitting process and unleash American energy.

Additionally, I’m working with our federal delegation to include a strong safety net in the next comprehensive farm bill. The current risk management tools were not designed to mitigate the type of volatility Bidenomics has caused. I support a strong crop insurance program, Livestock Risk Protection, and Dairy Margin coverage programs. I’ve also co-sponsored legislation to double the funding for programs that develop new trade markets for our farmers and ranchers.

Ensuring the strength of our agriculture sector is critical for our state and our nation. When our farmers and ranchers struggle, our rural communities struggle. It’s not just those who work the land who suffer. The ripple effects of farm income decline are felt throughout the state. A struggling agriculture sector is also a threat to our national security. The COVID-19 pandemic taught us that we must be able to provide for ourselves at home. Nothing is more important than the ability to feed and fuel our nation. I will always fight to protect our farmers and ranchers.

My team and I are here to serve you. Contact us anytime by phone at 202-224-4224 or on my website at www.ricketts.senate.gov/contact.