Last night President Donald Trump touched on many key ag issues such as infrastructure, immigration, tax reform, and the opioid crisis in his State of the Union Address, while staying clear of subjects such as NAFTA and the Farm Bill.
Here is what some big names in ag had to say:
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who was last night’s designated survivor during the event, issued the following statement regarding President Donald J. Trump’s State of the Union Address:
“President Trump’s unifying address to the nation recounted this administration’s impressive achievements in its first year, which have strengthened the economy for all Americans, including those who do the important work in the agriculture sector. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is already helping workers and will allow agricultural producers to invest more in their operations and their own families. President Trump’s optimistic vision for the nation includes massive investment in infrastructure, which will be a boon to a rural America that sorely needs such improvements. The president’s emphasis on fair trade gives me confidence that he will strike deals that benefit all parts of the American economy. Additionally, his focus on eliminating burdensome regulations is freeing up agricultural producers and removing obstacles to productivity. This is a president who has rural America and agriculture close to his heart, as his words and deeds clearly demonstrate.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall echoed Perdue:
“From regulatory reform and trade to immigration reform and infrastructure upgrades, President Trump tonight unveiled a policy roadmap that aims to unify and strengthen our nation. Many of the provisions he outlined will continue the theme of renewing rural America. Now, we must work to secure those policy provisions.
“The president mentioned tax cuts, and many farm and ranch families will benefit from lower tax rates. Farming is a capital-intensive business and during this prolonged period of economic challenge across farm and ranch country, we applaud the president’s leadership and all the hard work by Congress that went into our new tax law.
“It was refreshing to hear his continued pledge to make Washington accountable. The cost of complying with regulations takes a bite directly out of the already slim profit margins our farmers and ranchers are facing today. While much has already been done, there is still more work to do.
“Our farmers and ranchers must have new market opportunities and as a businessman President Trump understands that. As he works to reframe our trade agreements as fair and reciprocal, he goes in with the understanding that we need a trade agenda that secures greater access to ag export markets. That’s important as our farmers prepare to plant their crops for 2018. American agriculture is a bright light in our overall balance of trade and with solid trade policies in place, we will continue down that path.
“With the more-than-$1 trillion infrastructure development package he announced tonight, it is our expectation that rural communities will be partners in what he described as a New American Moment. Infrastructure upgrades tied to our rural communities will help pave the way for economic renewal that is so badly needed.
“The bold package of immigration reform measures he put on the table tonight should prime the pump for overdue action, and we encourage Congress to take action in a timely manner. While we must do more to secure our borders, the fact remains that our farmers and ranchers need access to agriculture labor they can depend on. Agriculture must be part of President Trump’s proposal for merit-based immigration. We will work with the administration and Congress to ensure we get the job done.”
The National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule was disappointed to not hear more on some key ag issues in the State of the Union Address:
“While the President addressed many issues of importance to the American people, it was unfortunate that he did not focus more of his remarks on agriculture. “Much like a strong infrastructure plan, agriculture is also essential for helping Rural America move forward. The Farm Bill provides all farmers with access to programs that allow them to produce abundant and quality crops while using fewer inputs, thus facilitating not only rural economic growth but also a safe and affordable food supply for all Americans.
“The President also called on Congress to end sequestration on Defense. Sequestration has had significant effects on domestic programs, including Farm Bill programs, negatively impacting farmers. Removal of sequestration shouldn’t be limited to Defense programs.
“As we consider our place in the world stage, let’s make sure that we preserve smart trade deals that keep American wheat producers in a strong position. This includes remaining in NAFTA and moving ahead with bi-lateral trade agreements.”
Moving Agriculture Forward
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