Weighty agricultural issues under review by Trump administration, Congress

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- President Donald Trump credits rural Americans, and many farmers, with elevating him from a political novice to Commander-in-Chief. From the campaign trail, he promised to boost the agriculture community.

Our DC correspondent Alana Austin reports on the state of agriculture under this new administration.

"It shows his commitment to the American farmer," said Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA).

Georgia Congressman Austin Scott praises President Trump for being the first president in 25 years to address the American Farm Bureau convention, and for making agricultural issues an important part of his administration.

"If people would give him a chance, he will absolutely do a lot of good things to help all Americans, and that includes those obviously who live in rural areas," said Scott.

The Trump administration says farmers will benefit from the new tax law through tax cuts, relief on estate taxes, and deductions for buying equipment.

"Agriculture is the economic engine quite honestly that drives - not just Georgia, but the whole country," said Scott.

Scott sits on the Agriculture Committee, which is working on a new farm bill and addressing trade agreements.

Chuck Conner, head of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, says the Trump White House must proceed carefully when renegotiating trade deals like NAFTA, saying the issues this administration wades into now are "very, very high stakes."

"We can't afford to lose one boat load or one barge load or one railcar load of sales during these kind of economic times," said Conner.

Conner also wants policymakers to streamline the process for temporary guest workers. He says legal and illegal immigrants serve a critical role in harvesting crops.

"The notion of coming in and sort of rounding up everyone who’s not legally in this country and doing something with them would have devastating consequences for American agriculture and probably even more importantly for American food production," said Conner.

Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford is working with the White House on immigration reform.

"Our process has become so broken...my push has been this has to be resolved," said Lankford, as he looks to address DACA and border security concerns.

Phil Wolgin of the liberal Center for American Progress says this administration is not living up to American values.

"They want to radically radically cut legal immigration, and this is a significant departure, for even the Republican Party," said Wolgin, the managing director for immigration at the center.

Lawmakers are reviewing the White House's initial framework for immigration reform. Meanwhile, the current farm bill is set to expire at the end of September.



 
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