I know that many people involved in agriculture, myself included, were thrilled to see President Donald Trump take time out of his very busy schedule to visit the American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Meeting in Nashville in January.
In that speech, we found out that the President is hearing about and working on so many issues that will affect farm country. From a new farm bill, to NAFTA, immigration reform, infrastructure, or countless regulations that are currently hindering progress in our industry, Mr. Trump mentioned the many woes facing agriculture as he spoke directly to thousands of farmers and ranchers from that stage in Music City.
The elephant in the room when it comes to rural America and politics at the highest levels of government is whether President Trump will truly take into account why he holds the title of Commander-In-Chief. If not for farm country, the oval office décor would have a completely different vibe.
As the President talked about everything that is being tossed around inside the Beltway that agriculture has a stake in, I couldn’t help but wonder if he really understood how impactful pulling out of the North American Free Trade Agreement would be for farmers, or how taking one wrong step in immigration reform might leave so many fruits of labor dying on the tree, or how a farm bill with less funding due to trying to balance other federal programs would be a detriment to growers doing their best to last another season.
I am surely not saying that because the middle of America was red hot the night Mr. Trump got elected that we should hold that over his head as he contemplates major decisions about trade, policy and regulations. The reason we should hold him accountable for the things that matter to the farming community is because he told us, first hand, that he will be handling such issues in a way that will please his rural constituents and he is counting on the voters that put a check mark by his name in 2016 to repeat the action in 2020. A little piece of me wonders, though, if he will make some choices that may not be suitable for agriculture because he knows the other choices on the ballot will likely not be nearly as palatable to rural Americans in 2020.
I am, by no means, expecting everything to go 100% in the favor of agriculture under the Trump Administration. That is simply not how government works. Farmers will be the first to tell you that having things go their way happens just as often as when they don’t.
So all I ask, Mr. President, is that you dig a little deeper into the topics that you spoke about in a room full of America’s finest hard working men and women and make every effort to give farmers an opportunity to continue doing what they love and what they do best.
Please don’t bite the hand that voted for you, especially when it feeds you as well.