Sen. Bernie Sanders in Story City

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a forum Dec. 5 in Story City, Iowa. Sanders discussed his plans for Iowa farmers and United States agriculture.

Sen. Bernie Sanders attended the Organic Farmers Association and Iowa Organic Association 2019 Presidential Forum late Thursday in Story City, Iowa.

Iowa Organic Association is a statewide nonprofit organization committed to organic and education outreach policy and community corporation, according to its website.

Organic Farmers Association is an organization that seeks to unite organic farmers and promote the use of organic agriculture, according to its website.

“[The] potential for the future of agriculture in the United States is at risk,” said Roz Lehman, the executive director of the Iowa Organic Association.

Sanders spoke of the challenges farmers face in order to maintain the growth and integrity of organic agriculture. He mentioned large corporate businesses wishing to get into agriculture.

Sanders outlined his plans for Iowa farmers and agriculture across the United States — breaking up agribusiness monopolies and mitigating climate change to increase farmers' success.

“Monopolies own 82 percent of the meat packing industry, 85 percent of the soybean processing, 63 percent of the pork packing and 53 percent of chicken processing,” Sanders said.

Sanders promised farmers he would appoint an attorney general who will break up “agribusiness monopolies.”

Calling out the fossil fuel industry, he said, “their short-term profit is not more important than the future of this planet.” 

He pointed out the role agriculture has in climate change and the struggle farmers face due to the extreme weather changes. Iowa farmers have faced struggles associated with extreme flooding in recent years. According to analysis by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, flood damage to the state in 2019 could top $2 billion.

Iowa farmers were able to ask Sanders questions about his policies and plans for the future of agriculture nationwide.

Sanders answered questions on how his plans will help organic agriculture, control agribusiness from buying up small farms, how soil helps maintain the amount of carbon in the air and how he will keep organic food “truly organic.”

“People support family-based agriculture in America, whether they are in a city or rural area, which is why our policy is to support those in and going into family agriculture” Sanders said.

Sanders concluded the forum by stating his administration would be a friend to organic agriculture.

“If [I am] elected to the presidency, family-based Iowa culture and organic agriculture will have a friend in the White House," Sanders said.

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