By Melissa Beck, Editor
With a new leader preparing to take the reins of our government, what can President-elect Trump do to help the people who got him elected? Let’s face it rural America stepped up and made their voices heard in this election. The country is divided, and there are people who voted for Mr. Trump that have serious reservations. Let’s hope he surrounds himself with wise counsel as he proceeds.
Here are the top three issues I think Mr. Trump needs to address:
It is abundantly clear the EPA is in need of new leadership and a clarification of their mission and goals. Not only does the agency appear to have a severe case of mission creep, they appear to be actively campaigning to harm agriculture, even misallocating their funds to advertise against our industry. They’re making unfounded and biased claims without the rule of science. Perhaps most disturbing is their collusion with anti-ag groups and the release of the personal information of over 100,000 producers to these radical lobbyists. Finally, and Trump seems to agree with me on this, WOTUS needs to go away. Seems like a good place to start to me.
Half of all dairy employees are immigrants, and this report says that dairy prices would double without immigrant workers, going on to say it would eliminate one-in-six U.S. dairy farms and “cut U.S. economic output by $32.1 billion, resulting in 208,000 fewer jobs nationwide. Some 77,000 of the lost jobs would be on dairy farms.” Farm Bureau reports that American farms need 1.2 million farm workers and many farms cannot find the labor they need. Others argue that loose immigration laws take jobs away from Americans. Regardless, there is a need for immigration reform, but we need to make informed decisions about how to proceed.
We need smart trade deals and opportunities to export our agriculture products. Farm Bureau supports TPP and projects an increase of $4.4 billion in farm income from the proposed trade. However, many in the dairy industry are against this trade agreement and I’m leery of any trade deal that had secret negotiations. Let’s bring these trade negotiations into the light of day and see how they actually stand up to scrutiny. This should be the end of closed-door deals and pass it before you read it legislation. The Economic Policy Institute says the biggest concern with TPP is there is no mechanism to prevent currency manipulation and “U.S. trade deficit with the TPP countries cost 2 million jobs in 2015, with job losses in every state”. Let’s hope Trump will try making deals that put American’s and our economic interests first and build our economy.