Based on Congress's failure to pass a farm bill last year, Sen. Charles Grassley concedes that farmers may not have the political power that some might think they have.
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, the Iowa Republican said a farm bill won't happen if the legislation is put only in the context of a subsidy to farmers.
"We have to start talking in terms of a sure supply of food to make sure that we have social peace in our country," said Grassley.
It is also important for people to know that food is a national security issue, said Grassley, because "an army marches on its stomach."
"All you have to do is look at Germany and Japan," he added. "Why do they protect their farmers? Because they found out during World War II that if you don't have food, you can't fight; and so they're very protective of their farmers for national defense."
Illustrating the importance of family-run farms in the U.S., Grassley brought up the much-discussed Super Bowl commercial featuring two minutes of a 1978 Paul Harvey speech glorifying hard-working farmers.
"So I hope the people of America will wake up and appreciate the family farmers of America," said Grassley.