PARIS – French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is stroking cows and promising new, improved subsidies to farmers who fear their livelihood is on its last legs after years of crisis.
Le Pen is among a parade of candidates for the April-May election visiting the huge annual Paris agricultural fair this week.
Le Pen said Tuesday she wants to "Frenchify" farm aid instead of relying on centralized European Union subsidies. She called for a "national agriculture policy so that we can determine ourselves where this aid goes."
Also visiting the farm fair, Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll countered that Le Pen's policies would destroy French farms by leaving them unable to compete internationally.
French family farms, emblematic of the provincial cuisine and landscape that tourists love, have been struggling for years.