The federal government should get out of the way of the agriculture industry, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, told farmers Thursday during a stop at the newly built Evolution Ag facility on U.S. 42.
Jordan, who represents Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, said the industry should largely be subject to the free market.
“At some point we have to say ‘let’s get to a free market,’” he said.
Because farmers produce the nation’s food supply, Jordan said he believes that government has a role to play in insuring crops, but not much else.
“Government may need to be there to backstop the insurance, but to me, that’s it,” he said.
Questioned about Renewable Fuel Standards, which require transportation fuel sold in the U.S. to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels, Jordan said he would support a phase-out of the program that benefits corn producers across the country.
“Let’s let the market work,” he said.
Jordan said the government can provide farmers with more free market opportunities by expanding trade, although he said he is still evaluating the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership that would open several Asian markets by lowering tariffs.
“I’m for exporting whatever we can,” he said. “I’m for letting you market your products wherever you can.”
While negotiations continue over the trade pact, Congress is also wrestling with the re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which finances and insures foreign purchases of American goods.
Jordan called the program a “shining example of how bad the corporate welfare is,” saying many of the biggest beneficiaries are giant corporations.
“To get rid of this, Congress gets to do what it does best: nothing,” he said.
One farmer questioned Jordan about dealing with the Environmental Protection Agency, which has proposed an expanded definition of “U.S. waterways” and, with it, its oversight of much smaller bodies of water.
Jordan said that he, as a member of Congress, can draw attention to the regulatory agency’s problems and seek to withhold funding.
However, he said the only real way to curtail the power of the organization is through a change at the White House.
“To really get it solved, you need a new administration,” he said.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.