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FORMER NATO COMMANDER: FARMERS ON FRONTLINE OF NATIONAL SECURITY
Source: The Hand That Feeds U.S. news release

U.S. agriculture is essential to America's security, yet the industry is under attack, General Wesley Clark wrote in an article that appeared Tuesday, on the Kansas City Star website.

According to Clark, who was general of the United States Army and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, "America's political leaders must take appropriate measures today to ensure that farmers do not become endangered species tomorrow -- a loss we cannot afford.

"If we cannot feed, fuel and clothe ourselves, then we cannot defend ourselves," he explained. "If this one bright spot in our economy is choked off, then recession recovery will certainly stall. And, if rural America falters, we open the floodgate to even more fuel produced by nation states that do not share our values and strategic interests-and our country is less secure."

Larry Combest, the former chairman of the House Agriculture and Intelligence Committees, applauded Clark for shedding light on such an important issue, especially as new policy challenges emerge and threaten farmers' ability to feed a growing U.S. and world population.

Among the threats Combest identified: tight farmer and rancher profit margins, overregulation by the Environmental Protection Agency, attacks on new yield-improving innovation and technologies, and attempts to weaken farm policies that "might already be too weakened to help farmers survive a major price dip or weather catastrophe."

And there's more than just the country's ability to feed, fuel, and clothe itself at stake, according to Clark's article. There are also 21 million American jobs rooted in agriculture.

During these difficult times, Clark asked America to "think of the 210,000 farms that produce 80 percent of the country's agricultural output as a thin green line standing between prosperity and disaster.

"Simply put, we must hold the thin green line," he concluded.

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