NORTHFIELD, Minn., Nov 1 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that consolidation of meat processing and retail chains over decades has harmed U.S. farmers and announced $5 billion new investments benefiting rural Americans during a visit to a family farm in Minnesota. .
The trip, the first stop in what the White House is billing as a “two-week barnstorming tour,” will also see 13 senior administration officials visit rural areas in 15 states, including electoral battlegrounds like Michigan , Pennsylvania and Arizona. They will highlight investments in rural communities, where one in five Americans live.
“When rural America does well, when Indian country does well, we all do well,” Biden said during a visit to Dutch Creek Farms, a hog, soybean and corn operation now run by a third generation of the Kluver family.
Biden said that just four major companies control “more than half of the market for beef, pork and poultry,” and that when one of those companies closes, it causes significant disruption to the supply chain. supply and harms farmers.
“Thanks to the investments we’re making, family farms are going to stay in the family,” Biden said, highlighting his efforts to improve market competition and invest in the internet and rural electrification.
The Minnesota event also allowed top Democratic officials in the state to show their support for Biden just days after the Minnesota lawmaker. Dean Phillips launched a primary challenge to a sitting president, sources familiar with the project said.
Biden will attend a fundraiser in Minneapolis after the farm visit.
A Biden campaign official noted that Democrats improved their margins in rural areas in 2022 compared to 2020, winning over former President Donald Trump’s former supporters.
“We are treating these newly Democratic 2022 voters as key persuasion targets for 2024 and are not taking any vote (rural/suburban/urban) for granted,” the official added.
White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre did not tie the president’s visit to Phillips’ long-running challenge, but said the administration was “grateful” to Phillips for voting close to 100% with Biden over the past two years.
“Minnesota is an important state that the president wanted to visit,” she said, adding that Biden plans to speak directly with rural Americans about how his legislation creates jobs in their communities and other urgent investments .
Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in Minnesota 52.4% to 45.3%, winning all 10 of the state’s Electoral College votes.
The Democratic president arrived in Minnesota in the middle growing criticism from Muslim and Arab Americans for his support for the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip.
Jaylani Hussein, Minnesota executive director of the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR), said American Arab and Muslim leaders and their allies were planning protests against Biden’s Israel policies at the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport, on the farm he visits, and in downtown Minneapolis.
White House officials had no immediate comment on the protests.
Reuters reported in September that the White House and Biden’s campaign were planning a aggressive outreach to rural voters, who represent 30% of the electorate in the hotly contested regions of North Carolina, Georgia and Wisconsin, and about 22% in Pennsylvania.
Biden’s campaign is actively targeting Black farmers with a new television ad that will air in Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as on national cable news channels, the third campaign ad targeting Black Americans.
It’s part of a 16-week, $25 million ad campaign targeting key voters in battleground states who are hotly contested because their voting preferences may lean toward Republicans or conservatives. Democrats.
Getting credit for economic gains is crucial to Biden’s 2024 re-election, but many rural voters feel frustrated and disengaged after decades of industrial decline and job losses in the face of globalization and the decline of agriculture.
The more than $5 billion in new investments for rural America Biden announced Wednesday will come from the Inflation Reduction Act, a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill and reprogramming of existing funds.
The money includes $1.7 billion to support climate-smart agricultural practices, $1.1 billion for clean water and other infrastructure, and $2 billion for economic development projects in nine States and Puerto Rico, as well as additional investments to expand broadband access.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; additional reporting by Nandita Bose, Jeff Mason and Andrew Hay; Editing by Stephen Coates and Bill Berkrot
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