President Trump impresses AFBF audience, makes brief mention of trade

President Trump’s references to regulatory changes, estate tax reform and patriotism got a huge positive response from American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) members Monday in Nashville.

The president pointed out that he’s the first chief executive in 25 years to speak at an American Farm Bureau convention.  The audience was enthusiastic, especially at the mention of estate tax reform and Trump’s statements supporting patriotism.  But what many came to hear, assurance about trade, was only touched on.

“On NAFTA, I’m working very hard to get a better deal for our country and for our farmers and for our manufacturers,” said Trump, during his speech Monday at the AFBF 99th Annual Convention in Nashville.

“I’m glad he mentioned it,” said Scott VanderWal, president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, and vice-president of the AFBF, telling Brownfield Ag News following the speech that Farm Bureau’s feelings supporting agriculture trade have been clearly communicated to the administration.

“They know very well that there are people nervous out there in farm country,” said VanderWal.

Trump repeated his promise to build a wall at the Mexican border, which met with mixed response.

“It’s just a personal opinion because of the history of walls in our world,” said Dave Streadbeck of Utah, who told Brownfield that he otherwise supported everything else that the president told the audience of farmers and ranchers.

AFBF members witnessed the signing of executive orders that clear a path for getting more broadband coverage to rural America.

The president closed Monday’s speech by signing two orders supporting cell towers in rural America and streamlining their construction on federal land.

“Those towers are going to go up, and you’re going to have great, great broadband,” said Trump accompanied on stage by several lawmakers attending the speech.

The executive orders are two of the 100 recommendations in the Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force Report delivered Monday to the president by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.  The report is the result of what the task force has done since Secretary Perdue became part of the Trump Cabinet.

“I’ve traveled over 30 states listening to the people of American agriculture about what’s working and what’s not,” said Perdue, while introducing President Trump.

The presidential appearance is the first at an AFBF meeting since George H.W. Bush in 1992.  Trump noted that fact as he came on stage, saying it was good to be part of the 99th convention, however, “You understand that 100 is so much cooler, so I’ll be back,” said President Trump.  “I think, next year I’ll come back.”

AUDIO: President Trump (36 min. MP3)

AUDIO: Scott VanderWal (3 min. MP3)

AUDIO: Dave Streadbeck (1 min. MP3)

Photos courtesy of American Farm Bureau Federation

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