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Ag's diminishing patience could hurt political races

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  • Agricultural donations to Republican races could dry on the vine over immigration issues
     

 

A long story in the New York Times under the headline “California farmers short of labor, and patience” doesn’t just offer a detailed synopsis of frustrations over U.S. immigration policy. In the game of political one-upmanship it provides a not-so-veiled threat to the Republican Party.

Humble advice to the Democrats: Don’t get cocky! You’re just as complicit.

Apparently upset about broken promises and continued stall-tactics over comprehensive immigration reform, Western Growers Association President Tom Nassif told the NYT that members of his organization could withhold donations from GOP candidates if agriculture cannot have the issues it cares about addressed in a realistic and timely manner.

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According to OpenSecrets.org, American agribusiness has so far donated nearly $26 million to political candidates and parties in 2013-2014. Just over 70 percent of that money went to Republicans.

In this age of defending (and almost worshipping) the minority, one would think that California agriculture – or American agriculture for that matter – would be moved to the front of the preferential treatment line because its numbers are so small. While the political class in America likes to tout the “little guy,” the “minority” and the “disadvantaged,” who else of late is more marginalized and neglected than the California farmer?

That frustration is not only expressed over immigration, but over just about every other issue agriculture must contend with that comes in the form of a regulation or rule; the list is legion. Frustration is such a common occurrence at these meetings that aside from the call-to-order and flag salute, entire meeting agendas can be filled with discussions on regulatory issues.

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