OSAGE — Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on Sunday said there’s a “major crisis” in rural America and the federal government must break up monopolies in the ag sector that treat farmers like “modern-day indentured servants.”

“Farmers know this,” Sanders said. “I want the people in urban America to understand this as well.”

Sanders, in his second campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, used a Sunday speech in Osage to outline his prescriptions for economic revival in rural areas.

“What the American people, what you want and what I want are more family farms in America, not more factory farms,” Sanders said, to applause and cheers.

Sanders called for federal oversight of the environmental impact of large-scale poultry and livestock confinements, just as other industries are regulated in Iowa and elsewhere.

“More and more of the state’s agriculture is being dominated by just a handful of large corporations who is seems to me from a distance own the Iowa state legislature,” Sanders said.

In addition, Sanders would get rid of federal subsidies for crop insurance and, again, link federal payments to targeted prices for commodities. Sanders said American farmers should be guaranteed federal support to cover production costs, “plus living expenses.”

“Farmers deserve a fair price for the very, very hard work that they do,” Sanders said.

Sanders would cap federal farm payments, too, to limit payments to large farm operations.


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