Donald Trump has repeatedly said he loves rural America and its farmers, labelling us as “great patriots.” Since he took office, Trump has endlessly repeated that “rural America has been left behind” by Democrats and has emphasized he would advocate for their interests. He has lauded himself as the savior of rural economies and has positioned himself as the defender of farmers against China. He has even posed in front of tractors and sold hats saying, “Make Our Farmers Great Again.”

With all this talk and proclamation, what has Trump actually done for farmers and rural America? For starters, Trump has reduced support for essential rural programs, such as transportation and water infrastructure, by withholding funding and ignoring the needs of rural Americans. Trump’s trade war with China has caused American agricultural exports to fall almost $15 billion in four years, resulting in multiple bleak years for American farmers. Trump’s 2016 pledge to deliver broadband to all of rural America has failed miserably. And his recent attacks on the U.S. Postal Service threaten to cut off an essential lifeline for rural Americans, including rural veterans who depend on the Postal Service to receive their medications.

Let’s make one thing clear: President Trump has hurt rural America, and it is time for new leadership.

Throughout his campaign, Vice President Joe Biden has presented solutions for rural Americans and farmers and intends to take actions that will improve their way of life. Biden has advocated for revitalizing rural economies from the bottom up and has pushed for enacting environmental plans to reduce the impacts of climate change that farmers are experiencing firsthand each season.

Biden has specifically highlighted his microloan program for new and beginning food producers, emphasizing that he would double the maximum loan amount to $100,000 and increase funding for the USDA’s farm ownership and operating loans. He has also said he will promote ethanol by investing hundreds of billions in clean energy research.  This is welcome news for corn growers in our area.

North Dakotans have specifically suffered from Trump’s harmful policy and budget decisions, as the state faces ongoing agricultural issues — like national commodity check off programs and agriculture mediation programs, protecting pollinators from disease, access to rail transportation, invasive species, and trade with Cuba — while the economy suffers. However, by promoting clean energy jobs and investing in farmers, Biden has the potential to rebuild the state’s economy and protect the health of North Dakotans.

Not only does Biden have tangible plans in motion, but his addition of Senator Kamala Harris to his ticket strengthens his overall plan for rural America. Harris is the right vice presidential pick for rural communities, not only because she’s dedicated to strengthening the rural economy and addressing the needs of rural voters, but because she included rural Americans and farmers in each of her strategic policy plans when she was running for the top of the ticket. Never mind her support of growers in California as their Senator.

During her 2020 presidential run, Harris introduced policies intended to benefit rural America, including pitching a $100 billion plan to fight back against Trump’s “war on rural America.” Throughout her career, she has worked to achieve increased access to health care in rural communities. She called for more flexibility for clinicians to work in assisted living centers and directly in people’s homes, and she proposed an educational loan forgiveness program to benefit mental health professionals who agree to work in rural areas that currently lack providers.

Together, the duo of Biden and Harris are poised to fight for the wellness of rural Americans and the recovery of our farmers. They both have shown they can deliver on their platform and are ready to take on the challenges facing rural Americans and North Dakotans alike. So next time you hear President Trump’s empty promises, know that you can help spark meaningful change for rural America by voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this November – who offer more than empty words.

Tessa Gould