President Donald Trump has signed more than 30 executive orders during his first 100 days, and he hasn’t forgotten to get the agriculture industry and rural America involved. Earlier Tuesday, Trump signed the executive order, titled Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America, in front of newly installed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, a 14-member farmer roundtable and others.
“Today, America’s farmers feed not only our nation, but millions of people around the world,” Trump said, reading from the order, before making an aside about trade.
“We’re going to open that up much more for you folks,” he added. “As you know, it’s not totally open, to put it mildly. We learned that yesterday, frankly, with Canada, with dairy farmers up in Wisconsin, upstate New York, different places. A lot of border states in particular are not able to sell their dairy products into Canada, and this has been going on for a while, and we’re not going to put up with it.”
Trump said U.S. farmers deserve a government that serves their interests and empowers them. He said the executive order will empower Perdue to “identify and eliminate unnecessary regulations that hurt our nation’s farmers and rural communities.”
The order also establishes the Interagency Task Force of Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, to be led by Perdue. This entity will examine current barriers to prosperity in rural America and work towards long-term, sustainable rural development. The group will look into current regulations, tax policies and other issues that could help these communities prosper.
Prior to the announcement, Trump met with the 14-person farmer roundtable, which included:
- American Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall, a broiler, cattle and hay farmer in Greensboro, Ga.
- Valerie Earley, a national FFA officer from Wykoff, Minn.
- A.G. Kawamura, a third-generation fruit and vegetable grower and shipper from Orange County, Calif.
- Luke Brubaker, a dairy farmer in Lancaster County, Penn. (Not to mention former Top Producer of the Year winner.)
- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey
- Tom Demaline, nursery and landscape businessman from Avon, Ohio
- Lynetta Usher Griner, a timber producer from Florida
- Terry Swanson, a farmer and cattle rancher from Walsh, Colo.
- Steve Troxler, the North Carolina commissioner of agriculture
- James Lamb, a pig farmer and row crop producer near Clinton, N.C.
- Hank Choate, a seventh-generation dairy and row crop farmer near Cement City, Mich.
- Maureen Torrey, an eleventh-generation farmer who runs a diversified operation near Rochester, N.Y.
- Jose Rojas, vice president of farm operations at Hormel in Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Lisa Johnson-Billy, family farmer and former member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives
“As we point out, in terms of pure numbers, the ag sector does not make up a large part of the population, but certainly those engaged in the allied industry sector do and their economic impact in rural communities across America certainly allows them to punch above their weight, if you will,” said Ray Starling, special assistant to the President, introducing the roundtable to press on Monday. “We also brag on them. Certainly we have the most efficient farmers in the world, the most effective at producing our food, and that’s why we pay a lower percentage of our income on food than any country in the world.”