Bernie Sanders wants to rebuild rural America, which has certainly suffered in recent decades as plants have closed down and farms have become more automated. The rural regions in the United States are, by and large, lagging behind urban cores in terms of job generation, wages, and overall prosperity. Sanders wants to change that.
Unveiling a broad range of proposals, Sanders has called for the breakup of major agriculture corporations, which some argue have a stranglehold on American agriculture. He has also called for numerous other reforms. Speaking in Iowa, Sanders said: “This growing monopolization of agriculture is unfair to food producers. It is unfair to consumers. It is unfair to the environment. Together, we are going to change that system.”
Among other things, Sanders wants to allow farmers to repair their own equipment. Many farming equipment manufacturers require that their own (often expensive) technicians repair the equipment. Equipment manufacturers install chips on their machines and after the equipment has been repaired, a technician must plug in their company USB to certify that the work has been completed. Only then will the machine be operable.
For small farmers, these costs can be prohibitively expensive. In fact, some farmers have even turned to Ukrainian software to hack the farming equipment they bought. Once hacked, farmers can then repair their own equipment. Sanders wants to ensure that self-repair is a right, not a work-around.
Sanders also wants to set up federal supply management programs that would ensure that production meets demand and that farmers and their cultivators are fairly compensated. Canada uses a similar system in some agriculture industries. For the United States, this would be a massive reform.