- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Democratic presidential front-runner Joseph R. Biden on Tuesday announced a plan to help rural America, including proposals to boost farms with new trade deals and stronger antitrust protection.

Offering relief to farmers hard hit by President Trump’s trade war with China, Mr. Biden kept his focus on the general election and targeted communities that have reliably voted Republican for years.

The former vice president released a fact sheet outlining his rural agenda as he made a campaign swing through Iowa.

“The Biden strategy for rural economic development will be to partner with rural communities, invest in their unique assets, and make sure the wealth created in rural America stays in rural America,” the Biden campaign said in a statement accompanying the fact sheet.

The campaign said farmers had “paid a heavy price” for Mr. Trump’s trade war that prompted retaliatory tariffs from China.

“While Trump is pursuing a damaging and erratic trade war without any real strategy, President Biden will stand up to China by working with our allies to negotiate from the strongest possible position. And, he’ll make sure our trade policy works for American farmers,” the campaign said.

Farmers hard hit by the trade fight with China have largely remained loyal to Mr. Trump, who has sent billions of dollar in federal aid to prop up the agriculture sector.

Mr. Biden also promised to strengthen enforcement of the Sherman and Clayton Antitrust Acts and the Packers and Stockyards Act to protect small and medium-sized farmers and ranchers from being squeezed by giant agribusiness firms.

One of Mr. Biden’s top rivals, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, has promised to break up big agricultural businesses that control the supply chain to farmers.

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