tv Pres. Biden in Illinois on Food Production Prices CSPAN May 11, 2022 8:38pm-9:06pm EDT
doing everything we can to protect consumers and suppliers from future crises like the covid 19 pandemic, which has cost so much money for our farmers. i represent over 1200 family farms so it is important to me that president biden administration continues to work to reduce costs for farmers. the president decision to tap into the trust will allow us to provide homegrown commodities like those produced here to the world's hungry and help bolster our firms along the way. thank you again to the o'connor family for having us. with that, i would like to introduce secretary vilsack. thank you. >> thank you very much.
to the o'connor family, thank you very much for the opportunity to see a tremendous operation. food and agriculture is a big business. it employs 29 million americans across this country. it is 7% of our gross domestic product. it is the vehicle by which we become a food secure nation. it is why the president directed me during the course of the early days of the administration to focus on exports. open up -- opening up those ports. it is why he understood to bring the cost of gas found you also have to expand the supply, which is why it is important to support biofuels. he instructed me to do $700 million of pandemic assistance for that.
it is my he understood farmers need a fair price and consumers need a fair price. we are focused on strengthening the package and investing in processing capacity. it is also the reason why he is concerned about the stressors families across the country have . it is why he instructed me to find ways to increase nutritional assistance for families across the country. my main job here is to introduce jeff. i have known jeff for 20 minutes. here is what i know about him. he is incredibly committed to the land. he understands his responsibilities as a steward of that land. he is appreciative of the importance of investing in soil quality. he believes gina is a partner in
this operation. it is an entire family apparition. he is committed to making sure the next generation have that opportunity that he now enjoys. that is what i know about jeff. he is committed to his family, he is committed to his community and to his country. he is proud of what farmers do in this country up feeding a secure -- food secure nation but also provided food all over the world. the recent i know this is because -- the reason i know this is because jeff is a farmer. it tells you what he is. it is my pleasure to introduce jeff o'connor, an american farmer. [applause]
>> thank you, sec. vilsack. i am going to read my remarks. thank you everyone for being here. i cannot express enough how grateful i am that you all took time out of your schedule to do this. my wife gina and i are pleased to welcome all of you to our firm. we had the honor of showing president biden around our firm and talking about the critical role firms play in feeding the entire world. i applaud his eagerness to work hand-in-hand with farmers to make healthy, high quality food affordable and accessible to people everywhere.
we had the opportunity to travel 10 years ago to the do panic to the american republic. we were able to see what global hunger looks like firsthand. and what water concerns look like. nationwide, the farming community takes pride in the world that we can play to help in fielding -- feeding the world. one point of our discussion was the potential use of double cropping. it would allow the production of soybeans after a summer wheat harvest. in essence, we have the ability to raise two crops in one a growing season while simultaneously providing conservation benefits. these efforts need to be maximized. i appreciate the president's commitment to conservation and
the creation of the tools of the administration is providing to probe -- to invest in a climate smart agriculture. we are very honored to have you here and the farming community stands ready to maximize production and this time of world need. ladies and gentlemen, let's please give a warm illinois welcome to president joe biden. [applause] pres. biden: please sit down. one thing i want to put to rest. everybody looks to me and says have you ever been to a farm? i remind them that come from the state of delaware, represented and where for 36 years in the united states senate. seeing this -- single largest industry is agriculture.
it is a $4 billion industry. $4 billion. we have more chickens than there are americans. if i did not know something about farms, i would have been a united states senator for six years not 36 years. i want to pay tribute to this guy right here. i am going to embarrass you a little bit. this is the man who happens to be the son of the owners of this firm -- farm. there is an expression that god made man then she made a few firefighters. firefighters are incredible. who else is going to run into flames.
what you are doing in terms of helping conservation is a something. -- astounding. the hope -- the whole point of recent this -- raising this, i have been to every major fire but to bring this year because fema is working again. more timber, more land, more buildings. burned to the ground this year than an entire state of new jersey. the entire state of new jersey. what this young man does is amazing. and it relates to lack of water
in most of the places i have flown over. reservoirs that are now two inches deep. one of these days i want to come back and talk to you about conservation and climate. but thank you for what you are doing. i really mean that. thank you. i know it is hot in here so i will not talk more than an hour and a half. [laughter] pres. biden: i want to thank jeff for that introduction. and eugene for your hospitality. i joined congressman robin kelly here, the real champion for u.s. farmers. she is a key player in infrastructure, getting high-speed internet and clean
water to every person in this district. dick durbin and tammy duckworth were not able to be here because there is a vote. i want to think tom vilsack. we became friends when he was governor in iowa. we traveled the state. tom has forgotten more about farming than most people will ever learn. tom talks about how critically important agriculture is to the united states. the reason i am here is to thank american farmers. you feed america. you got us through pandemic. you are the backbone of our country. that is not hyperbole. but you also feed the world. we are seeing with vladimir putin's war in ukraine, you are
like the backbone of freedom. i was at a factory down in alabama and they make juggling missiles to help the ukrainians stave off the russians. i pointed out that america is the arsenal of democracy. we always have been. i stand here today to think american farmers who wear the breadbasket of democracy. you really are. every investment banker could leave their job. if every farmer left, we would all starve to death. right now, america is fighting on two fronts. on home, it is inflation and rising prices. abroad it is helping ukrainians defend their democracy in feeding those left hungry around the world.
jeff and american farmers understand vladimir putin's war has cut off critical sources of food. ukraine was the largest producer point and corn -- of wheat up -- and corn. they have 20 million tons of grains in the silos. if those do not get to market an awful lot of people in africa are going to starve to death. because they are the sole supplier of a number of african countries. because of what the russians are doing, vladimir putin has battleships prevent an excess to ukrainian imports -- ports to get this food out. the war has also prevented
ukrainian farmers to plant next year's crop. we are doing something about it. our farmers are helping them both fronts. reducing the price of food at home and expanding production and feeding a world in need. i just tore jeff's farm. we talked about farmers all across america. in addition to pollutants war, -- vladimir putin's work, it has been cold and wet. many farmers in the midwest have been put behind the eight ball. american farmers always find a way. they always feel something extra, a spark of patriotism. a sense of never given up.
always finding a solution. all of our farmers, i want you to know, your congresswoman, me, the secretary of my cabinet, we have your back. robin has your back. reducing the red tape so it is easier for farmers. for people at home who do not know what double cropping means, harvesting two different crops from the same field in the same year. that is what jeff does with wheat and soybeans. wheat will be harvested around july 4 if all goes well. then you plant soybeans in the same acreage and double cropping comes with some real risks. the growing season for week this short and if conditions are not good, then the timing of
everything is thrown off. but it is a risk we need to take. that is why my administration is looking at how to extend crop insurance coverage to give financial security to farmers like jeff who practiced double cropping. farmers worried about rising fertilizer costs, we announced we would invest $250 million to boost fertilizer production. i told tom to double that. make it $500 million. we cannot take chances. it is critical to get this done. when we leave here today, i am heading to chicago. tom is going to germinate to the g7. that is all the democracies in europe getting together in their
agricultural teams getting together. to solve some really big problems. we will see what action we can take to increase fertilizer supplies globally. and bring more global production to market which will stabilize prices and bring more certainty to our farmers p --. my administration is working to drive down the cost for farmers and prices to consumers. last month i was in iowa and i announced an emergency waiver to a allow e 15 to be sold across america during the summer. it had to be done for the summer. he 15 uses more ethanol. it can reduce the cost of a gallon of gasoline at the pump
by $.10 per gallon. every little bit matters. robin is a big supporter of this. she is pushing it in the house as well. only four big companies controlled the markets for beef, pork, and poultry. without competition, our farmers and ranchers have to pay whatever the four big companies say. these big companies can use the position as middlemen to overcharge grocery stores and illinois families. 50 years ago, renters got over $.60 -- ranchers got over $.60. today they get $.39. hope farmers got 40 or $.60. today it is about $.19. as the big companies made
massive profits, prices you see at grocery stores went up. this reflects a market distorted by the lack of competition. i signed one of the first executive orders i find was to make competition more available and leveled the playing field. we are investing $1 billion to help smaller meet processors expand their capacity. i am a capitalist, but capitalism without competition is not capitalism. it is exploitation. during my first year of office, american agricultural experts shattered -- exports shattered all previous records.
my predecessor did not come close. we have to keep investing in our farmers to reduce costs, to reduce prices to consumers. we have the most productive farmers in the world here in the united states. i am going to keep fighting for family farmers like jeff so that they can do what they do best. working hard to invest in farmers like jeff and feed america and the world. let me close with this. looking at firms like this was a reminder of the bounty and beauty and generosity of this nation.
i was at the tibetan plateau with the president of china and he said, he was talking about america's diminishing power. i said mr. president, it has never been a good bet to bet against the american people. nobody has ever won. can you define america for me? just me and a translator. i turned all of my notes over to the state department. what happened was, he said can you? i said yes, one word. possibilities. we are the only nation in the world that has come out of every crisis stronger then we went in
it. every single time regardless of what it was. no other nation has done that. it is one of the reasons why in some places where a called the ugly americans because we think we can do anything. we know we can do anything. this nation leads the world. we stand up for freedom. when we are united there is not a darn thing we can do -- we cannot do. it is a fact. it is not hyperbole. there was nothing beyond our capacity when we work together. god bless our farmers and that protect our firefighters and may god protect our troops. thank you for what you do. america owes you. [applause]
>> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, funded by these television companies and more, including a broadband. -- buckeye broadband. buckeye broadband supports c-span as a public service, giving you a front row seat to democracy. the assistant administrator for global health and a former cdc director testified about the impact of covid-19 on food insecurity. other witnesses include experts from the world health organization. the senate appropriations subcommittee hosts this to our hearing.