By Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, John R. Block.
The Presidential election battle rages on. Biden leads in the polls. But don’t forget that four years ago Hillary Clinton was leading, and the Trump victory shocked the world. Think about this – in one respect, whoever wins, rural America and Agriculture will come out on top. President Trump’s victory in the last election would never have happened if rural America had not carried him across the finish line. Candidate Clinton referred to the rural workers, and people of the heartland as deplorable. That gave Trump the election. Today’s election – just around the corner is different. Vice President Biden has been meeting with rural and farm voters. He has been in the farm states. Also, other Democratic candidates continue to reach out to the voters that had been forgotten before. Rural America is at last getting the respect and attention deserved.
New subject – one week ago it was announced that the United Nations World Food Program would receive the Nobel Peace Prize. When we are out in the field picking corn or sorting pigs, we don’t even think about the World Food Program. But I think the World Food Program is a big deal. The WFP provides food to 100 million people in 88 countries. Those people are desperate as they face food insecurity and hunger. “With the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of people living on the brink of starvation” reported by the Nobel Committee.
David Beasley, former Governor of South Carolina is the WFP Executive Director and had this to say, “WFP is out there in the most difficult, complex places in the world. Whether it’s war, conflict, climate extremes, it doesn’t matter.” I have a special place in my heart for the World Food Program. The U.S. is the program’s largest donor providing 43% of the total of $6.3 billion. Also, the United States has an organization supporting the World Food Program that is Friends of WFP. I served on that board for several years and came to appreciate the unselfish, huge volume of food made available to desperate people all over the world. I remember the first American woman to head that organization, Catherine Bertini. She did a great job. To the Nobel selection committee- the World Food Program was the right choice.
John Block served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1981-1985, where he played a key role in the development of the 1985 Farm Bill. John hosts a weekly radio show going back more than 20 years. The commentary and opinions shared are a summary of the discussion from the broadcast and not a reflection of the firm at large. For more from John Block Reports from Washington visit www.johnblockreports.com.