As American farmers continue to sound the alarm on food insecurity, President Biden’s 2024 primary challenger Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is broadening the conversation as he commits to making agriculture policy a top priority if elected.
Kennedy hosted a roundtable with farmers nationwide on Thursday to discuss various issues plaguing the industry from climate change and regulation to China’s purchase of U.S. farmland.
Graze Master Group co-founder Kerry Hoffschneider, who attended the virtual conversation, joined “Fox & Friends First” Friday to discuss the need for free market principles and less regulation.
“I think that RFK Jr. cares about farmers having the freedom to make the decisions, to make the choices they need to on their farms and ranches,” Hoffschneider told Todd Piro. “Every farm and ranch is very different… but really what there is a place for is government getting out of a lot of what they dictate.”
“For the free market, the consumer wants clean, healthy food. The consumer wants our country to have food security. The consumer can make that choice,” she continued. “We need help with the infrastructure. We need help with the government in some ways, but really, we need to step back with the vision of the founders of this country and remember that we were founded on freedom and independent landholdings and all the things that we have stayed away from in our history.”
“America has much of the best agricultural soil on earth,” Kennedy’s website reads. “Yet for decades now, America’s farmers have been devastated by policies that have driven up farm debt and increased their vulnerabilities to climate change. Fortunately, a new generation of farmers is focused on working with nature by rebuilding their soils using regenerative practices that increase biodiversity, improve their resilience to drought and floods, and increase on-farm profits.”
Despite climate change concerns, critics have worried in recent years about the national security implications of Chinese entities buying rural American land and what that could mean for the U.S. food supply.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data from 2021 indicates that China controls an estimated 383,000 acres of U.S. farmland, with their investments reportedly generating $1.9 billion that year.
Biden has been the target of criticism surrounding the trend, with some farmers suggesting he is “asleep at the wheel” as American food security falls into the hands of a foreign adversary.
“I think it should be a foreign policy and not merely a food policy,” fourth-generation Georgia farmer Will Harris said. “I think that for ever since World War II, we have evolved into foreign policy that is more and more focused on the food industry, manufacturers, pesticide companies.”
“Farmers are not doing well,” he continued.
National Black Farmers Association President John Boyd Jr. has been an outspoken critic of the White House’s handling of the issue.
He has slammed the administration in recent years for allowing American farmers to be left behind as they are reportedly outbid by Chinese competitors for farmland.
“We need a free market system that where farmers can make decisions independently and have the space to do that,” Hoffschneider said. “I’m not really concerned about what Biden’s doing or any politician, and I wake up every morning with farmers and ranchers around me hard at work, working very hard to ensure our food security not wanting to do the wrong thing, but with a great opportunity here now to learn how to do things even better.”
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Fox News’ Kristen Altus and Elizabeth Elkind contributed to this report.