Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

President Trump to Address American Farm Bureau Convention

In the first presidential address to the American Farm Bureau Federation in over 25 years, President Donald Trump Monday said farmers have been big beneficiaries of some of the changes in the political environment over the last year, most notably reductions in regulations and tax reform.

"Oh, are you happy you voted for me", President Trump said as farmers applauded him.

Dane Elliott of Pawnee, Texas, said he was pleased to see a sitting president address the farm bureau, after a two-decade span without a visit.

"Those towers are going to go up, and you're going to have great, great broadband", Trump said, along with Tennessee Republican congressional delegation as well as its GOP governor, Bill Haslam. "If there (are) things we can do, we need to take a look", Hill said.

The president assured the largely sympathetic crowd that he would end the "regulatory assault on [their] way of life" and put more money back in farmers' pockets. "In every decision we make, we are honoring America's proud farming legacy".

While farmers overwhelmingly backed Trump in his 2016 campaign, some of his policies have raised concerns with them, including his threat to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, the tightening of immigration rules and cutting crop-insurance payments. He says the president needs to assure farmers of stable trade agreements and be realistic about promises like expanded broadband.

The farm bureau's convention drew more than 7,000 farmers from across the U.S.

Tailoring his message to his farmer audience, he said the "sleeper in the bill" is the ability for American farmers to deduct 100% of the cost of new equipment in the year the investment made.

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As he approaches his first anniversary in office, the president is struggling to fulfill his campaign promises to segments of his voting base, including farmers, and his approval ratings have been stuck at historically low levels. He said agricultural producers, businesses and workers will all benefit from the legislation, and that easing regulations will get better biotechnology products into farmers' hands.

Farmers and ranchers are welcoming the tax reform package signed by President Donald Trump late past year.

Trump told the group that he supports a farm bill that includes crop insurance, and that he will be working with Congress to pass a bill on time.

"When Mexico is making all of that money, when Canada is making all of that money, it is not the easiest negotiation", Trump said.

Farmers will also be watching the next round of NAFTA negotiations due to get underway in Montreal later this month. But at this point, Dykes said, "we feel very positive".

Whether the speech will placate farm interests for long remains to be seen.

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