Ag in the Republican presidential candidate debate

Ag in the Republican presidential candidate debate
Aug 25, 2023

Agriculture and rural America received few mentions

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Mentions of agriculture in the first debate between Republican presidential candidates came few and far between on Wednesday night.

The first came from Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota.

About 35 minutes into the debate, he discussed President Biden’s energy policies and how China is the main beneficiary of these policies.

“So if you buy a battery in this country, you buy a solar panel, it’s being produced by a plant in China powered by coal, or it’s being powered by oil and gas at 20% off,” he said, according to a transcript posted on “And every farmer in this country would like to buy diesel at 20% off just like they’re buying it in China.”

For context, retail diesel prices as of Aug. 21 was $4.389 per gallon. Taking 20 percent off that price brings retail cost of diesel to $3.511 per gallon.

Burgum is also responsible for the second mention of farming during the debate.

Just about an hour into the event, while discussing crime, Burgum highlighted how small towns are pushed aside in favor of big cities and spoke to small town values.

“No one ever asked the question of what about the crime wave in small towns because in a small town, neighbors help neighbors, people understand each other,” he said, the transcript says. “If a farmer gets sick, everybody comes together and helps them get the crop off.”

The word “rural” appears one time in the debate transcript.

Almost two hours into the debate, during a lightning round on various topics, Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, discussed how, as president, he would support schools in rural communities.

“As President of the United States, I will make sure we go from 51% of our schools offering computer science to every school in rural areas and urban areas offering computer science for the benefit of our kids and we can compete with China in terms of technology,” the transcript says.

The Republican Party will hold its second presidential primary debate on Sept. 27 in California.

The Democratic Party doesn’t have any primary debates scheduled.

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