Lenoir City farmer cheered by President Trump's rural America speech

by Joy Montgomery January 13, 2018, 3:32
Lenoir City farmer cheered by President Trump's rural America speech

Improving rural broadband connectivity has always been a goal, and previous administrations - including President Barack Obama's - have tried to address the issue with little success.

President Donald Trump prepares to address the crowd in Nashville on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 99th Annual Convention.

After the speech, flanked by Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, several Tennessee lawmakers and Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, Trump signed two executive orders meant to help expand rural broadband.

Trump spent some time in his address on the new tax law he signed shortly before Christmas, telling producers about the $5.5 trillion in tax cut that will be offset by $4 trillion in other revenue changes. U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, who attended the speech, said the new tax law will help farmers by letting them write off new equipment.

Ag exports account for 20% of farm income, so Trump's campaign threats to tear up trade agreements caused anxiety in farm country, although producers voted overwhelmingly for him because of his platform of tax reform, regulatory relief, and support for corn ethanol.

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In a rambling speech, President Trump told the audience at the conference that United States farmers are the "most incredible people". He also said the nation's farmers should expect a timely farm bill passage that includes crop insurance support.

"We have been working everyday to deliver for American farmers, just as they work every single day to deliver for us", Trump said.

Trump kept perhaps a larger elephant in the room - agricultural trade with China and Mexico, which the farmers heavily support - lower in the speech, assuring the farmers they would "get a better deal" from the North American Free Trade Agreement. With the trip to Nashville, he will unveil a report the White House says will include proposals to stimulate a segment of the national economy that has lagged behind others.

AFBF President Zippy Duvall said Trump's visit marked a watershed in D.C. politics. "And we can not let anything happen to that", Trump said. "Today, this task force is releasing its final report and I am taking action right at that attractive table".

Also Monday, Perdue gave Trump over 100 recommendations from the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity. With the voice of rural America leading the way, and in close collaboration with local, state, and tribal leaders, 22 federal agencies, offices, and executive departments accepted the challenge to make rural America great again. "If more business competition is the goal, then it makes sense that competition policy that helps new broadband providers is where we start".


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