For the past 40 years, the American Farm Bureau Federation has asked every presidential candidate to provide responses to issues likely to impact and affect farmers and rural communities in the next four years. President Donald Trump, who received the “Friend of Agriculture” endorsement from the Michigan Farm Bureau AgriPAC, shares his policy positions and direction for our country below.
Question: The COVID-19 pandemic awakened many Americans to the realization that stocked grocery shelves should not be taken for granted. As president, what investments and/or policies would you support to ensure the resiliency of our food system?
President Trump: Our country was invaded by an invisible enemy in a way that none of us could have imagined. From the very beginning of the pandemic the Trump/Pence Administration worked to ensure that we protected our nation’s food supply, the critical infrastructure, and the workers who support the entire supply chain.
Our ag and food value chain is the envy of the world, but faced significant challenges during the COVID outbreak as retail and food service delivery mechanisms were upended almost overnight through the rapid closures our country faced in March.
On March 19, 2020, the Trump/Pence Administration released its list of designated critical infrastructure that exempted the entire food and agriculture production system from any quarantine or stay at home requirements. This exemption list became the guide that was used by every Governor in every state to determine closures.
On April 17th, the Trump/Pence Administration announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program which committed up to $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers impacted by market disruptions and committed an additional $3 billion for the Farmers to Families Food Box Program.
On April 28th, the Trump/Pence administration issued an executive order that deployed the Defense Production Act for our meat packing industry. This act made it clear meatpacking plants that met OSHA and CDC guidelines should remain open.
Question: As president, how would you be a proponent for enhancing farm policy programs to bring certainty to farm families through crop insurance, improved risk management programs and support for beginning farmers and ranchers, while also bringing much-needed funding to trade development and agricultural research?
President Trump: The Trump administration supported and signed the 2018 Farm Bill and worked expeditiously to implement several new programs in the 2018 Farm Bill which have helped support our farmers during these uncertain times. This includes the Dairy Margin Coverage program which has helped dairies across our country withstand difficult market conditions.
Future Farm Bills must focus on building on the key pillars of our domestic farm policy including a strong crop insurance system, voluntary conservation programs, and increased agricultural research. Our farmers are the most innovative and productive in the world, and our farm policy must continue to unleash this great potential.
Question: As president, how would you be a proponent for expanding trade and pursuing remedies against nations and their leaders who use various barriers to unfairly shield their markets from competition?
President Trump: A major focus of the Trump Administration has been to renegotiate trade deals that were weak and provided inadequate market access and import protection to US farmers. Previous Administrations negotiated trade deals that put our farmers in a negative position to those that we compete with in foreign markets.
No one knows better than our nation’s farmers that for decades, China has stolen our technology, restricted US foreign investment, manipulated their currencies and kept US farm products out of their market. China has begun making purchases under the Phase 1 commitment, and in a second Trump Administration term China will have to come back to the table for more access to American farmers.
In addition to the new agreements President Trump has negotiated, we have also stood by our farmers when they were targeted by unjust trade retaliation. China thought they could force us to accept more bad trade deals by targeting our farmers. We have taken revenue we received in tariffs and provided $28 billion in direct support to those farms and commodities that have been unjustly targeted.
We know our farmers want markets, they want to grow and produce things to sell here in America and to the world. We also know that they want fair and reciprocal trade deals. The farmers have stood with us as we have taken on these unfair trade practices, and we have stood with them.
Question: As president, what provisions would you support to help farmers remain on the land and producing food, fuel and fiber?
President Trump: One of the most important achievements of my first term was to gain passage of the most significant tax reform in our nation’s history. Both corporate and individual rates were reduced, capital gains tax were significantly reduced, and the death tax burden, which directly hits our family farms across the US, were significantly reduced by raising the exemption level and addressing the stepped-up basis.
These tax cuts have unleashed the strength of our farm economy, allowing farmers to have certainty about future generations, and allowing farmers to invest more of their revenue back into their businesses and communities.
Question: As president, how would you support federal policies that encourage the domestic production and use of biofuels and renewable energy?
President Trump: One of the proudest achievements of the first term is that we have gained energy self-sufficiency as a Nation. President Trump and Vice President Pence have been strong supporters of the “all of the above” energy approach. This includes greater oil, natural gas, and renewable fuel production.
For agriculture, after decades of inaction by previous Administrations, the Trump Administration allowed year-round sales of E-15. When implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard, the President decided in favor of farmers and said from now on 15 billion gallons of ethanol must mean 15 billion gallons and shouldn't be undermined by small refinery waivers.
Further, to permanently boost market demand for ethanol and biodiesel, the Trump Administration is implementing a Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program to expand the infrastructure and increase the nation-wide distribution of biofuels.
Question: As president, what actions would you take to ensure that the federal government’s regulatory burden on businesses such as farming is consistent with congressional intent? Will you support regulatory reform to ensure that federal regulations meet a cost-benefit test and make the process of writing new regulations more transparent, and if so, how?
President Trump: From day 1, the Trump/Pence Administration has sought to lift the undue regulatory burdens that had been placed on farmers and ranchers during the Obama/Biden Administration. With the 2 for 1 directive, any new regulation had to also be accompanied by a removal of 2 existing regulations. The Trump/Pence Administration has exceeded even that expectation since taking office.
The Trump/Pence Administration made deregulation a cornerstone of its economic plan. This led to greater economic growth, higher employment, and increased profitability for small business, including farmers and ranchers.
In the agriculture sector the Trump Administration has advanced rules related to organic agriculture, biotech, livestock marketing, nutrition programs, school meals standards, and numerous Farm Bill programs that have eased burdens on farmers, and eliminated disincentives to productivity.
Question: As president, do you support the Navigable Waters Protection Rule that replaced the 2015 Waters of the United States and would you retain it?
President Trump: The Obama/Biden Administration implemented rules at EPA that would have made ditches and temporary ponds subject to environmental oversight and regulation. The Trump/Pence Administration completely rewrote this rule to directly address the abuses of the WOTUS rule and bring common sense back to what truly is a navigable water.
The Trump/Pence Administration heard the concerns of Farmers and Ranchers across this country about the impact of this misguided Obama-Biden rule that made no sense for rural American, we replaced it, and we will continue to fight any challenges that arise in the courts on this issue.
Question: As president, how would you ensure that new traits are reviewed expeditiously, that USDA’s GMO disclosure rules are focused on science, and that solutions from science and technology are harnessed to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world?
President Trump: The Trump administration will continue to make regulatory decisions, including biotechnology approvals based upon the very best available scientific data.
The Trump/Pence Administration strongly supports ag biotechnology and the use more broadly of technology in the agriculture and food industry. Combining ag biotechnology with increased data will be the basis of the next “Green Revolution” in agriculture. The Trump/Pence Administration supports innovation, technology and improved data to help farmers lower their costs, increase their revenue and enhance their profitability.
Question: As president, how would you ensure that rural Americans have economic opportunity, greater access to broadband and healthcare, and well-maintained infrastructure to move food, fiber and fuel to consumers and ports, which are all necessary for a sustainable future?
President Trump: A major focus of the Trump Presidency has been to help address the rural/urban divide. Rural America is home to over 60 million Americans who represent the best of our Nation’s values--hard work, love of country, and embracing freedom--yet oftentimes do not have access to the tools to meet the demands of a growing global economy.
The Trump/Pence Administration has made it a goal to gain access for the 18 million Americans that do not have access to high speed internet. The Trump/Pence Administration has worked to provide more funding through the FCC and USDA’s ReConnect Program to address this key issue.
Bridging the internet divide in rural America will help to provide better education, improved telemedicine, as well as give farmers and ranchers more tools to produce our Nation’s food and fiber more profitably. High speed internet access is the lynchpin for the data and technology revolution occurring in agriculture that will benefit farmers and ranchers, the environment and consumers.
Question: As president, what would you do to reform and resolve the critical labor shortage that many farmers and ranchers face each year? How would you address the issue of undocumented workers who are already working on farms across America, as well as the need for a reformed H-2A program that would help provide a long-term agricultural workforce?
President Trump: The Trump/Pence administration has taken strong actions to deal with the immigration and labor challenges facing our country and understands the labor shortages facing agriculture and the unique challenges our farmers face.
The Trump/Pence Administration has taken steps to streamline the current H-2A program, including ensuring agriculture can continue to get the farmworkers they need during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Administration worked to ensure common sense flexibilities were deployed to allow H-2A workers to continue working on our farms and moving to new employers that had need of this critical labor.
Question: As president, how would you ensure that climate regulations do not hamper American productivity and competitiveness?
President Trump: The Trump administration believes that American farmers are the most sustainable in the world and we should be thanking them rather than thinking of new ways to regulate them. Any new sustainability or climate requirements must be science based and not result in tighter profit margins for farmers. This would hurt beginning and smaller farmers the most.
The number one stewards protecting natural resources are our nation’s farmers. The Trump/Pence Administration has been strong supporters of increased funding of voluntary conservation programs included in the 2018 Farm Bill that helped farmers protect our precious natural resources, including water quality, while also enhancing soil health.
The Trump Administration believes farmers have a much better ability to manage and care for their land than a bureaucrat in Washington. President Trump has deep affection for our patriotic farmers because they don’t make excuses, they don’t complain, they just get up every morning with the goal of making this country great and sharing the bounty of their hard work with their fellow citizens.
Farmers speak directly, they keep their word, they deliver, they are patriots. Like our country’s farmers, President Trump has been clear about the agenda he would pursue, and he has kept his word...Promises Made, Promises Kept. With your support, our farmers will be leaders of the Great American Comeback, the Trump/Pence Administration will continue to make our farm communities great again.