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Tim Ryan on Food and Agriculture


Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio has made agriculture and food policy a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.

  • He wants to provide more federal funding for local and organic farms, and less funding for big agriculture businesses that produce ingredients for processed foods.

  • He supports “regenerative agriculture techniques” like cover crops and no-till farming, which can enrich soil and increase biodiversity. He also wants to pay farmers to use techniques that would capture carbon in soil to help combat climate change.

  • He is a co-sponsor of a House bill that would create tax credits and grants for grocers and other businesses that serve so-called food deserts, areas where healthy foods are inaccessible or unaffordable.



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  • Mr. Ryan argues that agriculture and food policy connect an array of seemingly distinct issues, including health care costs and climate change.

  • He has used the issue to try to distinguish himself in the jam-packed Democratic field. “I believe you all care about your health, the health of your family and community, and the health of our environment and climate,” his campaign wrote in an email last month. “No one else is talking about these issues — Tim Ryan is the only one.”

  • Much of Mr. Ryan’s plan depends on changes to the government’s five-year farm bill, which would not exactly be an easy lift: During the Obama administration, Congress was deadlocked for two years before it passed a new one.

  • The big agriculture interests whose funding Mr. Ryan wants to cut — companies like Monsanto, for instance — are powerful in Washington.

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