WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The president began his week putting farmers at the forefront. Speaking in front of the annual American Farm Bureau Federation Convention, President Trump assured attendees a new age of prosperity is coming. A North Dakota Senator helped the president craft his speech. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) says farmers should feel optimistic about the future.
Sen. Hoeven (R-ND) says he stressed the importance of mentioning crop insurance to the president.
“By working with us and reinforcing our efforts, whether it’s tax relief or a good farm bill, that really enhances our chance to get it done,” said Hoeven.
With a new Farm Bill set to come out later this year, Hoeven suggested the president discuss the importance of the legislation, rural broadband, and crop insurance, which the senator calls essential for North Dakotans.
“I said, ‘You’re going to get a big reaction there,’ because it’s become our producers’ number one risk management tool,” said Hoeven.
The president has hinted at dismantling trade agreements important to farmers, like the North American Free Trade Agreement because he says it’s a bad deal for America. Raj Shah, the White House deputy press secretary says whatever deals the president makes will leave farmers better off.
“Free and fair trade that works for our workers, our consumers and our businesses,” said Shah.
With the president hinting at ongoing NAFTA negotiations, some Democrats say it’s not clear what the president is going to do to bring prosperity to rural areas.
“Where is the administration heading on some of these issues? And I think the end of the day it’s kind of wait and see,” said Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN).
Peterson is the ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture. He says the president needs to assure farmers of stable trade agreements and be realistic about promises like expanded broadband.
“It’s expensive to put broadband out there to sparsely populated areas,” said Peterson.
Lawmakers are hoping to bring the Farm Bill up for a vote in the next couple months.