Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt of Missouri says if elected, he’ll ban corporations from owning livestock and order a review of corporate mergers in the ag industry. Gephardt stood in front of a corn field near Winterset as he promised a crackdown on monopolies that he says are controlling the prices of livestock and grain. Gephardt says drought, famine and plague are not the greatest threat to farm families. Gephardt says monopolies are the greatest threat, and he promises to end “governmental indifference” to corporate take-overs.Gephardt says Republican farm policies haven’t just tilted the playing field toward the corporate elite, “they’re thrown the game.” Gephardt says he will fight to represent farmers “with names like Smith and Davidson, not Smithfield and DeCoster.” Gephardt says large-scale livestock operations should not receive subsidies or exemptions from federal clear air and clean water standards.Gephardt says it’s time to target “giant hog lot owners who are thumbing their noses at environmental standards while neighbors are holding their noses and cleaning up the mess.” Gephardt says the Bush Administration has done nothing to stem the six-year downturn in the ag economy. Gephardt says for far too many people in the Bush Administration, America’s heartland is a foreign land and “they couldn’t care less.”Gephardt says while most people in rural America may not be farmers, “all of us should be in spirit.” He says the economic fortunes of America are intertwined with the health of family farms and the strength of American agriculture.
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