Biden sees larger position for US farms as a result of Ukraine conflict

KANKAKEE, Ailing. — President Joe Biden vowed to assist American farmers attempt to ease a worldwide spike in meals costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as he visited a household farm Wednesday and unrolled insurance policies meant to extend harvests in ways in which the administration believes may additionally assist to cut back grocery payments at residence.

“I stand here today to thank American farmers who are the breadbasket of democracy,” Biden stated. “We can make sure that American agricultural exports will make up for the gap in Ukrainian supplies.”

His administration introduced three coverage shifts to assist U.S. farmers amid the worldwide challenges. These embrace doubling funding for home fertilizer manufacturing to $500 million, larger entry to farm administration instruments for plant and soil wants, and efforts to extend the variety of counties eligible for “double cropping” insurance coverage in order that farmers can reuse their land for planting in the identical 12 months.

Biden famous that Ukraine has 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn in storage that the U.S. and its allies are attempting to assist ship in another country. This may assist to handle some provide points, although challenges may persist.

The conflict in Ukraine has disrupted the provision of that nation’s wheat to world markets, whereas additionally triggering greater prices for oil, pure gasoline and fertilizer. The U.N. Meals and Agriculture Group stated its meals value index in April jumped practically 30% from a 12 months in the past, although the index did decline barely on a month-to-month foundation. Individuals are additionally bearing some ache as meals costs are up 9.4% from a 12 months in the past, the biggest enhance in 41 years.

Biden toured the 800-acre O’Connor Farms in Illinois with its house owners, Jeff and Gina O’Connor. They’re rising wheat to be harvested in July and can later use the identical land for soybeans. Biden requested to drive certainly one of their tractors, solely to be informed it drives itself.

Surveying the wheat, the president noticed, “It looks healthy to me.”

Wednesday’s journey was a possibility for Biden to deal with two distinct challenges which can be shaping his presidency. First, his slumping approval ranking has been dogged by excessive inflation and his go to coincided with the discharge of the April shopper value index. Shopper costs rose 8.3% from a 12 months in the past, a slight decline from the 8.5% annual enhance in March. The drop-off mirrored partially a cooling in gasoline costs final month after the soar brought on by the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. Nonetheless, volatility stays with power prices as gasoline costs have climbed in Could to a mean of $4.40 a gallon on Wednesday, in response to AAA.

Rather more broadly, Biden’s go to supplied an opportunity to bolster America’s distinct position in serving to to alleviate the challenges brought on by the conflict in Ukraine. The journey follows the same sample as Biden’s latest go to to an Alabama weapons manufacturing unit highlighted the anti-tank Javelin missiles supplied by the U.S. to Ukraine.

A number of Home Democrats, together with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, met with Biden on Tuesday after having visited Ukraine. They warned that the meals scarcity meant the implications of the conflict began by Russian President Vladimir Putin would prolong properly past Ukrainian borders to a few of the world’s poorest nations.

“It’s going to result in a hunger crisis, much worse than anybody anticipated,” Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern following the White Home assembly.

An evaluation this month for the center-right American Enterprise Institute by Joseph Glauber and David Laborde famous that nations within the Center East and North Africa are largely prone to undergo from the upper costs brought on by grain shortages.

There are limits to how a lot wheat the U.S. can produce to offset any shortages. The Agriculture Division estimated in March that 47.4 million acres of wheat had been planted this 12 months, a rise of simply 1% from 2021. This may be the fifth lowest quantity of acres devoted to wheat in information that return to 1919.

Biden later went to Chicago to handle a supportive crowd on the conference for the Worldwide Brotherhood of Electrical Employees, a bunch that was an early and pivotal backer when his 2020 presidential bid was struggling.

“You’re the reason I’m standing here today as president,” Biden stated. “I’ve never forgotten, not only what you’ve done for me, but what you’ve done for America.”

The president cheered the $1 trillion, bipartisan public works laws handed final fall, saying it’s going to fund union-built infrastructure tasks everywhere in the nation.

“We’re making ‘Buy American’ a reality, not just a slogan,” Biden stated.

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