The impact of the next Presidential election on ag policy and trade

The head lobbyist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the current Presidential election cycle creates a lot of unknowns for the future of ag policy.  Ethan Lane says, “In the history of this country, I don’t think we’ve ever pondered the kind of situation we’re looking at now.” 

He tells Brownfield there are two very different scenarios depending on who is elected in November. “We kind of know obviously, what a Republican administration led by Donald Trump is going to look like and all the things that come along with that,” he says.  “On the Democratic side, it is really a jump ball right now.  That is not a situation we’re typically looking at four months before a Presidential election.” 

Following the first Presidential debate, there have been calls from some Democratic members of Congress for President Joe Biden to withdraw from the race. House Ag Committee member Angie Craig of Minnesota, recently said “I do not believe that the President can effectively campaign and win against Donald Trump”. 

He says regardless of who is elected, there is a lot of talk about tariffs. “There’s a strong protectionist vibe in Washington at the moment, and they don’t really seem to care too much what cattle producers or farmers in general think about the need for exports,” he says. “It’s it’s really falling on deaf ears.” 

Lane says there are some members of Congress who understand the importance of trade and exports. “And they’re trying to educate,” he says.  “I think there is a conversation happening urging them to take a little more nuanced approach to this.  But no question about it. I think regardless of what party wins, there’s a really strong tariff bonanza happening right now. And I think we’re going to continue to deal with that for the foreseeable future.” 

Brownfield interviewed Lane during the NCBA’s Summer Business meeting in San Diego. 

AUDIO: Ethan Lane, NCBA

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