Sen. Klobuchar Opening Remarks

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) was introduced by Doug Peterson, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union:

In 2006, Amy Klobuchar became the first woman to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate. She has assumed leadership on a number of policy issues, from antitrust and competition policy to export and commerce standard. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Klobuchar worked closely with Minnesota farmers during the 2008 and 2014 reauthorizations of the Farm Bill. Her remarks will highlight some of the critical policy concerns surrounding agriculture, food assistance, and development.

1) The challenge to produce food for a growing world population

In her remarks, Klobuchar immediately acknowledged the challenge the world faces: providing food for all in a world of seven billion, expected to be nine billion by the year 2050 — just 35 years from now. Even now, too many go hungry, including children. The U.S. cannot produce enough for all, so we must teach the knowledge and expertise of agricultural production even as we continue to share our agricultural goods.

2) A Farm Bill to maintain Nutrition programs and Conservation programs

She mentioned her efforts on the past two Farm Bills and successes in maintaining the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP: keeping it intact for the benefit of women, children and low-income families. In respect to farm programs, she said she was proud to advocate for Conservation: to strengthen and extend such programs to protect farmland while providing incentives to farmers who practiced good stewardship.

3) Confronting climate change and increasing energy efficiency

Concerning climate change, she felt there were missed opportunities in the current and past Administrations: opportunities to reduce carbon emissions and improve renewable energy standards. But disputes in Congress and between Congress and the executive branch prevented any effective action. She would have preferred incremental action, or “getting what you can at the time” without worrying if it was enough. She expressed optimism that bipartisan support can be reached if bills focus on energy efficiency, which everyone can agree upon.

4) Combating hunger overseas: combination of food aid and farm expertise

She talked about overseas food assistance and how some in Congress would like to cut back or off. She felt this would be damaging to the U.S., both from a moral perspective and international relations. The federal government can work with church groups, as well as companies, to confront hunger where it persists and to aid in creating development solutions to improve food production where needed. Once again she called for a sharing of our technical expertise, along with the donation of food relief supplies.