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Photo: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images

2020 Democrat Bernie Sanders unveiled a multifaceted, comprehensive plan to help revitalize rural farming communities and break up Big Agriculture corporations like Bayer-Monsanto and John Deere by enacting "Roosevelt-style trust-busting laws."

"For far too long, government farm policies have incentivized a 'get big or get out' approach to agriculture. This approach has consolidated the entire food system, reducing farm net income, and driving farmers off the land in droves. As farms disappear, so do the businesses, jobs, and communities they support."

Why it matters: America's farmers are living through the worst economic crisis in almost 30 years, driven by low commodity prices, trade war pressures and record flooding. The Agriculture Department has disbursed $7.7 billion in aid to farmers in an effort to reduce the negative effects of retaliatory tariffs stemming from President Trump's trade war.

Key details:
  • Corporation busts: Sanders wants to pause all future mergers and vertical integration of large agribusiness corporations and break up "existing massive agribusinesses."
  • Climate change: The plan aims to incentivize farmers to help sequester greenhouse gas emissions from farming and enforce the Clean Air and Water Acts for large, factory farms. "The current administration lacks the will to enforce [federal laws], particularly on mega-farms. Regulations should be scale-appropriate, and focus attention on the operations with largest impact," the proposal says.
  • Revitalize rural communities: The proposal emphasizes the need for education and job training, while also tying in paid child care, quality health care through his "Medicare for All" plan, and reformed immigration labor laws.
Arguments in favor of Sanders' plan
  • Sanders' plan goes beyond trustbusting and advocates for much more government involvement in price controls and the supply and demand of agricultural commodities.
  • Investment in social and economic programs will target struggling rural communities.
Arguments against Sanders' plan
  • Sanders has no price tag for how much his plan will cost.
  • The regulations could turn off pro-business voters.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

4 hours ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."